Abuse is a cruel and violent treatment regularly or repeatedly administered to a person or animal. By person, it means anyone can be a victim of abuse. And yes, even innocent children.
This is why there is a law specifically created to shield children from any acts of child abuse or exposure to domestic violence in the form of child protection orders.
What are child protection orders?
When a child is believed to be at risk or proofs are pointing out the danger to a child’s welfare and safety, a witness may apply to the family court for a child protection order.
In cases where a minor is a victim of physical or emotional abuse, the court shall issue a child protection order as an immediate action to shield a child from an abusive parent or family member.
Any witness can apply for a child protection order, and the court may grant it if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the child is at risk of significant harm.
Remember, child protection orders are issued for child protection matters only. The court doesn’t release these orders to address parenting issues.
For example, a witness cannot file for a child protection order just because they saw a mother neglecting her child. Unless this same mother repeatedly executes physical harm to her child.
How to file a child protection order
Generally speaking, a witness or party who seeks to file for child protection or restraining order against the parents or family members of a child must provide valid reasons for obtaining one. They may file these reports to law enforcement or child protection services.
To strengthen their case, the petitioner may also seek additional evidence from other parties such as other people who witnessed the abuse or the child’s other family member, or someone who has significant involvement in the upbringing of the child.
The witness will be required to fill out a form petitioning the child protection order. Once completed, the request shall be reviewed by the judge, who will either grant or deny the request based on the facts of the case.
Once a child protection order is denied, the petitioner must decide whether to request a hearing to talk about the decision of the judge to deny their case. If granted, the child protection order shall be issued, and a hearing will take place.
What are the types of child protection orders?
Common types of child protection orders are emergency protection orders, interim care orders, and interim supervision orders.
In an emergency protection order, the court immediately authorises the separation of a child from their parents. Under this order, a local authority is allowed to remove a child who is believed to be at risk from their home and put them in a safe place for up to 72 hours.
Under interim care orders, a child is placed in a protection home for a short period of time until the court has finalised the child’s living arrangements without their parents’ interference. This order lasts for up to eight weeks and can be renewed every four weeks after that.
Unlike the first two orders where the child is taken away from their home, the purpose of the interim supervisor order is to allow local authorities to assist and support the parents in providing essential care for their children. This is a temporary order made while the court makes a final decision based on the child’s best interest.
What happens during the hearing?
Both parties, the petitioner and the respondent, shall be present at the hearing to argue their side of the matter. The arguments shall cover facts and circumstances on why or why not the child protection order should be enforced or continued.
During the hearings, the judge shall gather crucial information presented in the arguments to decide whether to lift the order or issue a final protective order.
Do I need a lawyer to help with a child protection order?
Child protection orders are serious and complicated legal matters. Whether you are seeking a child protection order or are currently accused of being in violation of one, you should contact a legal service for immediate assistance.