Domestic violence is a serious concern in every city, every state and every nation. It can happen to anyone, anywhere. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, or if your abuser is on drugs or not, anybody can fall victim to a violent person regardless of who they are or where they live. In the United States, every 9 seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten and according to studies, approximately 10 million children witness domestic violence. The problem is so great, that in the United States, three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends each day, costing an excess of 5.8 billion dollars with $4.1 billion of that figure accounting for medical costs.
Tragically, domestic violence is passed on from generation to generation. Although it has become less acceptable in our society, many victims still become abusers themselves when they grow into adulthood. For this reason, any action that is taken to slow down or put a stop to domestic violence or any other kind of harassment or abuse should be avidly supported by our courts and our federal governments, which in most cases it is. Victims of abuse, stalking or harassment have legal recourse against their abuser and it is called a restraining order.
Are you a victim of domestic violence and harassment? In Florida, domestic violence victims can make a formal request for an injunction (protective order) against their abusers. Protective orders (otherwise known as restraining orders) are legal orders – which are issued by a state court. They require that one person stops harming another or face legal consequences.
Protective orders are typically used in domestic violence cases. These civil orders provide protection to victims. What types of behaviors constitute domestic violence? This type of abuse can include physical assault against a person’s body such as hitting, slapping, punching or kicking. It can also include sexual assault, spousal rape, false imprisonment, restraining someone, or any other behavior that results in injury or death to a household or family member.
In fact, even if you have not been physically battered yet you strongly believe that you are in immediate danger of becoming a victim, you may still qualify for a restraining order if the judge believes you. When the judge is deciding whether or not to grant you a protective order, the following factors will be considered:
1. The history between you and the respondent including physical abuse, harassment, threats, stalking or harassment.
2. Whether or not the respondent has ever tried to physically harm you, your family members, or someone close to you.
3. If the respondent has ever threatened to harm, conceal, or kidnap your children.
4. If the respondent has ever intentionally injured or killed a family pet.
5. If the respondent has ever threatened to use a weapon such as a gun or knife against you.
6. If he or she has ever stopped you from calling the authorities for help.
7. If they have a criminal record.
8. If anyone else has ever obtained a restraining order against them.
9. If they have ever destroyed your personal property or if they have ever behaved in such a manner as to give you a reason to believe that you are in danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence.
A protective order serves many functions; it will order the abuser to stay away from your home and your work. It prohibits the abuser from contacting you directly or through a third- party. It tells the abuser to leave you alone and to stop harming you. If the person lives in the same home as you, the protective order will tell them to leave the home.
If you have children, a protective order can give you temporary custody and it can limit the abuser from having visitation with your children or it can make those visits supervised. It can also give you temporary child support or spousal support so you can make ends meet.
Making the decision whether you should take out a restraining order should be addressed with caution. Having an attorney present to help you make the proper decisions regarding the type of protective order you should take out and when the appropriate time to do so would be. In some cases, a restraining order may actually cause more harm to an individual, potentially upsetting the respondent. Making sure that your rights are protected is key when deciding to take out an order of protection.
Furthermore, all permanent injunctions (not temporary) will make it illegal for the respondent to have a firearm or ammunition in their possession. If you are a victim of domestic violence – a compassionate family attorney will be able to help you file the necessary paperwork for a protective order. Since domestic violence is a great tragedy to our society it plays a pivotal role in how divorce proceedings play out. Your lawyer will make sure that you take the necessary steps to protect your legal and parental rights in divorce.