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Written in collaboration with Rosana Beechum

If you are concerned for the welfare and wellbeing of children in your family or that you know about, then it could be worth trying to issue an emergency protection order. This article will inform you on what you need to know about them from now on.

What they mean

An emergency protection order, also known commonly as an EPO, is an order granted by your local court to protect a child who requires protection. This could be due to a situation at home or something else entirely. The police will have the power to retrieve children, before taking them to a safe and secure location. Often, this will be with a children’s protection specialist.

What they can do for you

Emergency protection orders could be taken out to protect your child from significant harm from a partner. This is more likely to be issued if you’re separated from your partner and live at separate addresses. This is the most common for families that do not get on, but you can get emergency protection orders against someone in your own household, depending on the circumstances.

In these situations, the police may be in their power to remove children from a household and place them under police situation. Bear in mind that this will begin only as a temporary situation lasting up to 72 hours. From there, assuming there is no immediate risk of harm, then they will move to find suitable care under a supervision order. This may be done quickly if a level of urgency is applied to the case.

The court will apply an EPO if the police report that the child is in immediate need of protection or in danger of potential harm. The police or children services will share parental responsibility in the short term until a more clear-cut plan is organised. To learn more, consider reading this guide on an emergency protection order and what it could do for your family. You will need to work with expert lawyers to help obtain an emergency protection order or indeed appeal against one if you feel it was undeserved or straight out wrong. However you approach the subject, ensure you do so with caution.

Treading carefully

As this will be a sensitive issue, you should tread carefully. This means ensuring you are working within the confines of the law, and that you are taking the consideration and safety of children involved very seriously, whether they are your children or not. Speak to children’s protection organisations and the police to find out what you should be aware of.

How long they last

A standard emergency protection order can last up to eight days. You or the authorities can make a case to extend this through an application. This can add a few days, up to seven if there is reasonable cause. As a parent, assuming you are not the one posing any risk, you will be allowed to see your child whilst they remain in protection but of course it depends case by case, as each situation will be different. Know that the contact you have with them will be supervised in some way.

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