Many people do not realize that abuse is not limited to physical violence. Abuse can also include threats of physical violence, preventing someone from leaving, stalking someone, harassing someone, denying a disabled person the care they need, preventing a parent from seeing their child, forcing someone to watch abuse and other actions.
If domestic abuse is occurring in your home, you may be exploring your options to protect yourself and your children. One of your options may include seeking an order of protection.
An order of protection is a court order that can protect you by requiring your abuser to take certain actions and/or prohibiting the abuser to take other specific actions. Some ways an order of protection may be able to help, include:
- Requiring your abuser to stop the abuse and threats of abuse
- Prohibiting your abuser from coming to a shared residence, your place of work, your child’s school or other specific locations
- Requiring your abuser to attend counseling
- Prohibiting your abuser from taking a child out of state
- Giving you temporary physical or legal custody of your child
- Preventing your abuser from accessing a child’s records
- Granting you access to certain personal property, like a shared vehicle
- Prohibiting your abuser from damaging, destroying or selling certain personal property
- Requiring your abuser to turn in all weapons
- Requiring your abuser to pay child support
If your abuser breaks the rules of your order of protection, it is important to call the police right away. Let them know what is happening and remind them that you have an order of protection. Violating an order of protection is a serious offense, and can result in additional penalties, such as jail time.
A protection order can be a beneficial tool to help protect you and your children if you are planning on leaving or ending an abusive relationship. However, it is important to note that an order of protection will not end your marriage, and additional steps may be needed to do so. However, it is possible to request an order of protection with your divorce.