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How to Secure an Emergency Protection Order for an Abused Child

Various court orders can be applied for and secured when it comes to child abuse. One of these is an emergency protection order, and this is an order issued in serious circumstances. This document will give limited parental authority over the child to the person who applied for such an order. However, the said authority is only limited to the specific child welfare needs and the right to immediately remove (or keep) the child from where they currently are.

Anyone who feels that a child is in clear and imminent danger can apply for this order. For example, if you are a relative of the family and know that the child’s parents are abusing them, you are eligible to file for an emergency child protection order. You have the locus standing to call for child protection. Aside from the person who witnessed the abuse, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and police can also launch an application.

How are parents/guardians notified?

As a general rule, the local authorities need to notify the parents at least one day before applying for a child protection order. There are exceptions to these rules, however. One of these is the knowledge of a threat made against the child’s life. Another exception is if there’s a high chance that the parent will escape along with the child. In these cases, notice to the parents can be dispensed with. However, to make the subsequently issued order valid, the party who applied needs to send a copy of the said application to the parents within the next 48 hours.

If you are a parent and you receive this kind of notice, the best thing to do is seek legal advice from a family solicitor. They usually offer legal aid and emergency services for this specific case. Unless it is a ‘no-notice’ child protection order application, you enjoy the right to a hearing. You can also question the local authority about the appropriateness of the said order. Otherwise, the evidence presented by the other party will be judged ex-parte. It is in your best interest to get legal representation when tackling these applications with or without notice.

When will the court issue an Emergency Protection Order?

The court can only issue a child protection order if it can sufficiently establish that the child is suffering, or is bound to suffer, serious harm unless he is taken away from his current guardians or stays where he’s currently situated. The order can also be issued if the authorities have a firm belief that the said child will be harmed if he is taken out of a medical facility. In either of these cases, the court needs to be thoroughly convinced that the order is in the child’s best interest.

If you are the one filing the order, you need to support your application with convincing pieces of evidence to prove your claim. If you are the parent aiming to quash the application, you need to contest the allegations by also providing damning evidence to show that the child’s best interest is to stay with you. Either way, to save you the hassle of dealing with all the legal procedures all by yourself, you need to talk to a family solicitor.