About Domestic Violence Laws

Legal remedies for domestic violence victims

Victims of domestic violence have several remedies. All states have a provision for protective order. The victim can petition the court for a protective order against the abusers ordering the abuser to cease the abuse or harassment. The order will also ask the abuser to stay away from the victim, the victim’s place of residence and work. Violation of a protective order is a criminal offense.

In many states, even dating partners have similar rights to apply for protective order.

What constitutes domestic violence?

Domestic violence is not limited to physical attacks alone. It also includes emotional abuse, financial abuse, psychological abuse, stalking and much more. Harassing phone calls, causing disturbances at the victim’s workplace, threatening the victim or the victim’s family member, destroying property are all examples of domestic violence.

How effective is a protective order against domestic violence?

Protective orders are sometime very effective. Research has shown that protective orders or arrest can significantly lower the chances of future domestic violence by the same person. When the abusers realize that the law will deal firmly with domestic violence, he or she is deterred from further acts of domestic violence. A protective order however does not guarantee safety or protection. Many abusers continue their violent activities despite protective orders. The legal system cannot completely prevent domestic violence. It can only offer limited protection to the victim.

Seeking Help

If you are being subject to domestic violence, you should contact the police or call 911. There is a general belief that the police do not take domestic violence complaints seriously. This may be true in some cases but overall the police deal with domestic violence professionally. Victims can also contact the local office of the district or state attorney for advice. There are many social service organizations, crisis intervention programs and clinic that offer assistance to domestic violence victims. Many such organizations and groups are listed in the yellow pages.

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