What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of behavior in which a person acts abusively toward an intimate partner. Behavior is abusive when it's intended to control another by making that person feel intimidated, frightened, terrorized, or humiliated, or by isolating that person from family and friends. Domestic violence can happen regardless of gender or sexual orientation -- anyone could be a victim, and anyone can be an abuser.
What are the different types of domestic violence?
There are several forms that domestic violence can take. They are:
What is a restraining order?
A restraining order is an order issued by a court that applies to an individual that another person has identified as an abuser. Restraining orders generally forbid another person from engaging in certain activities that affect the person who sought the order. It's important to note that restraining orders differ depending on the specific pattern of abuse. Some examples of what a restraining orders can do include:
It's important to remember that restraining orders are intended to protect a person from specific abusive behavior, so an order will touch on only those persons and activities that a court has been asked to cover.
Are there different types of restraining orders?
Yes. Different kinds of protective orders can be issued depending on the specifics of a person's situation. The main types of restraining orders are:
A person who violates any one of these orders may be subject to civil or criminal penalties, including fines or incarceration.
Who can get a restraining order?
A person can get a restraining order if he or she has been the target of repeated abusive behavior and in an intimate relationship with another, either in the present or in the past. Such persons can be a current or former spouse or domestic partner, persons living together without a formal legal recognition of their relationship, or persons who have or had a dating relationship whether or not they ever lived together. Parents or relatives can also request a domestic violence restraining order if the facts show the required pattern of abuse. In some states, a person can petition a court for a restraining order once he or she has reached 12 years of age.
How do I get a restraining order?
The places where you can apply for a domestic violence restraining order may vary depending on the state or county you live in. Generally, you can request a restraining order by filing a request at your local courthouse. Sometimes, specific courts-such as a family court-may be a more appropriate place to apply for a restraining order.
If you are facing immediate harm you should call 911 to contact the police. A law enforcement officer should be able to advise you about getting an emergency domestic violence restraining order.
Victim of Domestic Violence? Let an Attorney Help You With a Restraining Order
As you can see, domestic violence is a pattern of behavior, meaning that it will persist until steps are taken to protect the victim. Often times those suffering from domestic violence believe they only have two choices -- stay and endure or walk away. While getting out of a situation may be necessary in many circumstances, the fact is that there are often many different options available depending on the level of abuse. Explore those options and ways you can protect yourself and your family by speaking with a qualified family law attorney in your area.