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Domestic violence and victim rights

Married or unmarried, no relationship is perfect. While relationships experience ups and downs that can be completely normal, this does not mean that it is normal for a spouse or a partner to experience abuse in the relationship. Domestic violence can be a very serious situation, coming in a wide variety of forms. Thus, some individuals in New York and elsewhere may not realize that he or she is a victim of domestic violence right away. No matter the situation, those caught in a situation that could be domestic violence should understand their rights and options.

Victims of domestic violence are afforded both civil and criminal protections. This can range from obtaining a temporary restraining order to an abuser facing jail time. A victim's decision to take a stance against an abuser could be a vital one, as some victims go years without every doing or saying a thing.

Some victims do not see a piece of paper as a means of protection. While it can state that an abuser must keep a certain distance from a victim, it cannot stop the abuser from doing that act. However, the major benefit of these orders is that it permits the victim to call the police if the order is broken, resulting in the abuser's arrest.

In some cases, an emergency protection order is necessary. When police are involved in a domestic violence situation, one or both parties could be required to leave the home. Frequently, the person deemed the abuser is requested to leave. In this situation, law enforcement can give a victim an emergency protection order. This is a short-term order that is typically given when an abuser is arrested, lasting roughly three to seven days. This also gives the victim time to request protection for a longer term.

When seeking a protection order, victims should be aware of the details and functions of this document. It could include provisions that prohibit contact with the victim, permits peaceful contact with the victim, orders the abuser to stay away from the victim and keep a certain distance, require the abuser to move out of the residence, require that the abuser surrender any guns in his or her possession and even order the abuser attend counseling.

Domestic violence can be a very difficult situation, making it challenging to address. Thus, it is important that victims understand their matter, their rights and how best to proceed with the situation.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Domestic Violence: Orders of Protection and Restraining Orders," accessed March 11, 2018

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