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Legal Options to Stop Domestic Violence

Posted on in Family Law

stop domestic violence, domestic violence, harassment, intimidation, legal options for domestic violence, McHenry County family law attorney, orders of protection, physical abuse, prevent domestic violenceDomestic violence is an unfortunately common problem plaguing relationships today. In fact, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Justice, over 1.5 million people experience domestic violence every year.

Fortunately, the law provides victims of abuse with a variety of options for keeping their abusers away, and keeping themselves safe. These include orders of protection, mutual restraining orders, civil no-contact orders, and no-stalking contact orders. Each of these remedies vary in regards to who qualifies and what protection is offered. However, all are designed to help prevent abuse.

Defining Domestic Violence 

In order to understand the options available to prevent and stop domestic violence, it can help to understand how the law defines it. The law considers domestic abuse to be any abuse between “family or household members.” Importantly, the law takes a broad view of what constitutes abuse and what constitutes a household member.

Abuse means “physical abuse, harassment, or intimidation.” This definition includes physical violence, but also goes much further, and encompasses acts like interfering with someone at his or her job, making repeated telephone calls, and making violent threats against a person. The law also defines family or household members expansively. Some examples of household members include:

  • Spouses or ex-spouses;

  • Parents;

  • Children or stepchildren;

  • People who live together or have lived together;

  • People who were engaged or who dated; and

  • People with a common child.

The Options Available 

People suffering abuse in one of these types of relationships have a variety of options available. One of the most commonly used tools is an order of protection. This is a legal order that a judge can hand down to forbid certain behaviors, keep abusers away from certain places, make abusers attend counseling, and even force abusers to move out of a home. The process for getting an order of protection depends on the term and on the seriousness of the situation. Short term orders can be granted on an emergency basis without needing to bring an abuser in for a hearing. Long term orders require a more formal process in which both sides present their cases.

There is also a variant of the order of protection available known as the mutual restraining order. This type of order comes into play in relationships where both members exhibit abusive tendencies. The mutual restraining order places restrictions on both individuals.

There are also legal options available for people who do not fall into the household member classes but are still experiencing abuse. These include civil no-contact orders for individuals experiencing sexual harassment or violence, and no-stalking contact orders for other harassing behaviors.

If you are currently suffering from an abusive relationship and would like to learn more about your legal options, please contact an McHenry County family law attorney today. Our firm's professionals are here to help you understand your rights and get you the protection that you need.

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