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If there is evidence of domestic violence taking place, either with currently or formerly cohabitating couples, orders of protection can provide legal boundaries between the two parties. These orders of protection or injunctions against harassment can be important evidence during divorce or custody proceedings. It’s highly advised that whether you’re on the enforcing or receiving end of orders of protection, you consult closely with a lawyer to keep from hurting your chances for a favorable court outcome later with custody and divorce proceedings.
Domestic violence is defined as any act that is a dangerous crime against a child or any act that involves violence against a family member or spouse if:
The victim and offender are married, had been married, or reside in the same household.
Domestic violence is any action between family members that is considered to be violent. Domestic violence can be verbal in nature, such as name-calling and threats; physical, such as pushing and hitting; or emotional, such as intimidation. While a domestic violence offense does not need to involve violence in the ordinary sense of the word, it must include a “victim” and there is not necessarily a requirement of assault, battery, or injury to comprise an offense.
The most common form of domestic violence is physical abuse, including slapping, punching, biting, strangling, kicking, shoving, hitting with a blunt object, wounding with a sharp object, pinching, hair-pulling and unwanted physical contact.
Individuals may file a domestic violence complaint against another member of the household who threatens to harm, intimidate, and isolate him or her on a regular basis. Physical abuse may be overt or covert, but psychological abuse is defined as threats which cause harm and resulting isolation from friends and relatives. In some cases, there are clear threats to harm physical property and pets, as well as attempts to control every aspect of the victim’s life.
Sexual abuse in a domestic setting often denotes marital rape, sexual intercourse forced by one’s spouse. It can also mean sexual harassment, being coerced into having sex with other partners, or any unwanted, sexually charged physical, verbal, or non-verbal conduct.
It is possible for a man, woman, or child in a household to claim emotional abuse if they are relentlessly targeted by another member with relentless name-calling, insults, and criticism on a regular basis. With the humiliation they are regularly subjected to, people who claim emotional abuse often feel a diminished sense of self-worth; but escaping domestic violence can prove to be tricky as many victims need to also claim physical abuse.
An individual may not be physically hurting other members of the household, but financial abuse can include withholding access to money, preventing a spouse from using credit cards, forcing someone to work, or preventing that person from getting another job.
A domestic violence order of protection is issued to protect victims of family violence. The order can protect you in many ways, including keeping the alleged wrongdoer away from your home, work, or any other location specified in the order. If a gun was used in an incident of family violence, the alleged wrongdoer may be required to turn over all guns or firearms in his or her possession to the police. In emergency circumstances, you may be able to obtain an emergency order of protection.
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