Whenever a person’s safety, security or reputation are violated or compromised, immediate action must be taken. Family disputes are highly charged, and disagreements can escalate quickly. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for violent, threatening or harmful action to be taken by one spouse or partner against another. In these cases, it may become necessary to obtain an emergency protection order or restraining order to protect the interests and safety of everyone in the family.
It is also important to keep in mind that family law disputes can bring out the worst in people, and sadly sometimes result in one spouse or partner filing for a protection order against the other in an attempt to sway a court in the determination of child custody or divorce matters. False accusations of abuse or other threatening behaviours can have a devastating effect on both the person being accused of violent behaviour and their children, as protracted legal proceedings can occur as a wrongly accused family member seeks to address the false allegations.
While some actions may threaten an individual’s personal safety and security (such as abuse, violence, or harassment), others target a person’s reputation in an attempt to cause humiliation on a public scale, such as what is known as revenge porn. Other forms of reputational attacks include disparaging a person’s character over social media, harassing their colleagues by providing personal and intimate information about the person, and sharing private information about a person online or with their family and friends in an attempt to destroy their relationships. In any of these scenarios, resolution demands swift action by an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer in order to minimize damage and secure the protection of their client’s physical and mental well-being, as well as their reputation.
Mincher Koeman’s family lawyers are highly experienced and dedicated advocates uniquely suited to address issues involving protection orders and revenge porn. We are experienced in handling the technical challenges that can be involved, such as the identification of IP addresses of the perpetrator and working with the police and IT professionals to minimize the exposure of the images on the web. The firm’s founding partners, Lynsey Mincher and Andrew Koeman, both had extensive experience practicing in criminal law before dedicating their careers to family and Indigenous matters. They have experience before all levels of court and specifically designed the firm’s operations to enable them to act with urgency in time-sensitive matters necessitating emergency court filings.
In situations involving an immediate threat of violence, the police or the victim can apply for an Emergency Protection Order (EPO), preventing their spouse or partner from making contact with them or the other family members, either directly or indirectly.
In circumstances where the threat is not one of physical violence (for example, harassment, stalking or forced confinement), a person can instead make an application in court for a Restraining Order either with or without notice to the other party. A Restraining Order will have the same effect as an EPO, but the process is often not as immediate. Additionally, while EPOs can only be brought against family members, including intimate partners, a Restraining Order can be brought against any individual, regardless of their relationship to the victim.
Both orders are excellent tools for ensuring the safety of all family members when violence or other threatening behaviour occurs. Unfortunately, as stated above, these orders can also be used as a weapon in highly contentious family disputes involving divorce and child custody. We have seen this happen too many times before, and have a great deal of experience advocating on behalf of clients on both sides of this issue. When a client is the subject of a protection order or restraining order based on false accusations, we will seek to have the order terminated as soon as possible, so as to prevent unnecessary separation of the client from their children, and to mitigate damage to the client’s reputation.
Revenge porn is an umbrella term used to describe any situation where a person distributes intimate images or videos of another individual without their consent. This captures a number of offences, from the public posting of nude photos to social media or dedicated revenge porn websites to more contained situations where an image is sent via text to a handful of friends. In the age of smartphones, this is an unfortunately increasingly common occurrence, particularly among young people.
Due to the ease of transferring digital images and videos and the potential involvement of international hosting sites, complete removal of intimate images from the public sphere can be difficult to achieve by targeting the digital spaces that may act as host to the images. The lawyers at Mincher Koeman work to address this issue by a variety of methods including sending Cease and Desist letters to the senders and additional third-party recipients if they refuse to delete the images. We also have a wealth of knowledge regarding strategies to assist in filing takedown notices in different jurisdictions, de-indexing the images and videos from search engines, and working to reduce the page ranking of the images in online searches.
Threats to a person’s mental or physical well-being or reputation are highly stressful and must be addressed urgently. Whether you have been the victim of abuse or had your reputation compromised via false accusations or through the distribution of extremely personal images, Mincher Koeman will help you. We have the necessary experience with the criminal system to request or challenge protection orders in court and can provide referrals to excellent criminal defence lawyers if necessary. In cases of revenge porn, we will work to put an immediate stop to the distribution of intimate images that may pose a threat to your reputation. Please contact our office to make an urgent appointment to discuss your matter with one of our lawyers by calling us at 403-910-3000 or by contacting us online.
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