Legal Aid Alberta’s (LAA) Edmonton Emergency Protection Order Program (EPOP) hosted a training session for staff and roster lawyers on November 25, 2019 in an effort to increase awareness around Emergency Protection Orders (EPO) and Family Violence Prevention Month.
The lawyers who participated in this training represent a significant number of Applicants and/or Respondents in EPO matters. This particular session went into detail on topics including Trauma Informed Practices when working with families experiencing domestic violence, perspectives from the police on EPOs and breaches, as well as issues to consider as Counsel for the EPO Respondent.
Presenters at this event included several members of the EPOP Team. The day started with a Review of EPOs what every lawyer needs to know, led by staff lawyers Gwen May, Jessica Chapman and Christina Riddoch.
This was followed by a presentation from Ian Wheeliker, from the Alberta Counsel of Women’s Shelters, on Trauma Informed practices in working with families involved with domestic violence. Roster counsel and former LAA staff lawyer Dustin Tkachuk, of Lawrence and Tkachuk, addressed the issues to consider as Counsel for EPO Respondents. RCMP Corporal Allana Jardine then talked about the police’s perspective on EPOs and EPO Breaches.
The day ended with Judge Ken Holmstrom, Associate Chief Justice of the Provincial Court, Family and Youth Division, and Madame Justice Debbie Yungwirth, from the Court of Queen’s Bench, providing views from the Bench on EPOs and process matters.
“Sharing our expertise on EPO matters with the broader legal community helps to reduce barriers and demonstrates our core organizational value of being a protector of Albertans who are facing domestic violence,” says Andrea Doyle, Senior Advisory Counsel for Family and Immigration Law at LAA. “Our entire organization is very thankful to the other experts who were able to take the time out of their schedules to contribute to this training.”
An EPO is an order granted under Protection Against Family Violence Act and provides immediate protection for victims of family violence. LAAhelps victims of family violence through its Emergency Protection Order Program. Offered in Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge (and surrounding areas), there is no cost for obtaining or confirming protection orders and there are no financial eligibility requirements.
This training session was attended by 13 roster lawyers, 11 staff lawyers, 3 legal assistants, and 8 stakeholders. LAA has hosted several learning opportunities for the legal community in the past, including Effective Representation of Children in High Conflict Cases.