If a person feels unsafe or threatened by another person, he or she can seek the relief of a protection order. A protection order also known as a restraining order is a court document which prohibits the respondent (the person against whom the protection order is being made) from engaging in abusive behaviour of any type towards the victim. But how does a person get a protection order in Trinidad and Tobago? Who can apply for one? How long can a protection order last?
Here are 7 important things you should know about protection orders in Trinidad and Tobago:
1. Who can apply for a protection order?
According to section 4(2) of the Domestic Violence Act Chap 45:56, an application for a protection order can be made by:
2. For what reasons can a protection order be made?
According to section 4 of the Domestic Violence Act, a person can apply to the Court for a Protection Order on the ground that the respondent engaged in domestic violence.
"Domestic violence" includes: physical, sexual, emotional or psychological or financial abuse committed by a person against a spouse, child, any other person who is a member of the household or dependant.
“Physical abuse” means any act or omission which causes physical injury.
“Sexual abuse” includes sexual contact of any kind that is coerced by force or threat of force.
“Emotional or psychological abuse” means a pattern of behaviour of any kind, the purpose of which is to undermine the emotional or mental well-being of a person including--
“Financial abuse” means a pattern of behaviour of a kind, the purpose of which is to exercise coercive control over, or exploit or limit a person’s access to financial resources so as to ensure financial dependance.
3. What information is required and what documentation is needed when applying for a Protection Order?
The parties correct name and address and a specific time of at least six months before filing when the incident/pattern of behaviour occurred.
The applicant or the applicant's representative should complete the information in Form 1 in the Second Schedule of the Domestic Violence Act. This details the following:
4. Where and how does one apply for a Protection Order?
There are two ways in which the applicant can apply:
1. The applicant or the applicant's representative can send an email directly to the court at email@example.com. The email must include the following information:
2. The applicant or the applicant's representative can contact the Domestic Violence Hotline at 866-DVCT (3828) or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org . A domestic violence representative will assist the applicant through a step by step process.
N.B. All applications should be done online. Walk-in services are currently not being facilitated by the court.
5. What terms can be included in a protection order?
A Protection Order can include a number of terms designed to protect the applicant or the person on whose behalf the application was made. The protection order may prohibit the respondent from:
A Protection Order may also direct that the Order be applied for the benefit of a child or dependant of the applicant or respondent; and direct that the respondent:
6. What factors will the court consider in determining whether or not to grant a protection order and what terms should be included in it?
The Court will consider:
7. How long can a protection order last?
A protection order remains in force for any period of time specified by the court, but such period shall not exceed three years.
Important Notice: This post does not constitute or provide legal advice. Always consult with a suitably qualified attorney-at-law on any legal problem or issue.
Law For All is managed by the AURORA CHAMBERS Legal Practice.
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