Vancouver police arrested a man for breaching a protection order. Why that matters for victims of violence

Vancouver police were put under surveillance last week after a video of a man being arrested was posted on social media, but police say their actions were justified by a court order protecting the man’s wife. this man.

Videos of the arrest in the parking lot of the Salmon Lake Community Center in East Vancouver have sparked outrage on social media, with officers accused of using unnecessary force and causing hurt child of the man who witnessed the arrest.

Police have since claimed the man’s conduct was “escalating” and they have recommended three charges against him since last year – all related to domestic abuse.

In videos posted on Twitter, a man is pulled from the driver’s seat of a vehicle by two officers as he calls for help before a third officer arrives as the man is handcuffed on the ground .

Applications for protection orders are made in civil court in British Columbia. (Ben Nelms / CBC)

About 30 seconds into the first video, a young boy opens the back door of the car and cries as he witnesses the man being arrested.

CBC has decided not to identify the man in the video to protect the identity of the child.

In the video you can hear a police officer telling the man that he is being arrested for “violating the conditions with [his] wife.”

Some social media users condemned the officers’ actions, with the video’s initial tweet saying “VPD just hit a man in front of his children.”

The Vancouver Police Department was quick to defend the officers’ actions, writing that the man was being arrested for criminal harassment “after he was accused of violating multiple bail conditions and protection orders issued by the police.” given for the safety of the victim.”

That explanation highlights the role of protection orders in intimate partner violence cases. Statistics Canada estimates that 44% of women report being abused in the context of a close relationship in their lifetime. More than 80 Canadians lost their lives each year by their sexual partners, and nearly 80% of the victims were women.

Order issued by a judge

A family law protection order is a court order issued by a judge to help protect someone at risk of intimate partner violence.

Vancouver-based family attorney Kendra Ashton said if the man in the video violated a protective order, police had grounds to arrest him.

“[Protection orders] Ashton said.

“The protection order recognizes that a person experiencing domestic violence may be vulnerable, and it provides a number of measures for the court to take in the event of a breach of the person’s safety and security. there.”

Kendra Ashton practices law in Vancouver in the areas of family law, child protection and insurance. (Submitted by Kendra Ashton)

While applications for protection orders are made in civil court, Ashton says there is a high threshold for granting them.

“A judge had to look at the whole situation and come to the conclusion that this person was at risk of domestic violence,” she explained. “They determined there was a possibility of domestic violence.”

The definition of domestic violence in BC’s Family Law Act including physical abuse, emotional abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and coercion or control of behavior.

The person named in the order is subject to specific conditions including no contact or limited contact with the protected person. Sometimes that means preventing them from going to the protected person’s home or workplace and prohibiting them from communicating with the protected person, whether through phone calls, emails, correspondence or texting. give them to someone else.

If someone disobeys a protective order, the victim can call the police to notify them and the police can act immediately to enforce the order by issuing an arrest warrant.

Vancouver police say that’s exactly what happened during Trout Lake’s arrest last week when the man’s ex-partner contacted them to inform them that he had breached the conditions of his bail and protection order.

“We believe his behavior was escalating and the victim told us she feared for her safety,” Sgt said. Steve Addison in an emailed statement.

Ashton says this kind of immediate response gives victims of domestic violence a sense of security.

“A protective order won’t stop a bullet,” she said. “But the hope is that with the protective order, the police can come in a little bit faster, and they’ll take the matter seriously when they know there’s a history of domestic violence.”

But as Ashton notes, a protective order is not a guarantee. One CBC investigation found that at least 36 Canadians killed by their partners between 2015 and 2020 were given court-ordered protection against their abusers.


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