Survivors of domestic violence have several civil lawsuit options to protect themselves from future abuse. At Canterbury Law Group, we often help clients navigate through these options to maximize their personal safety and security.
Emergency Protection Order – In some states, the police can give the victim (or person believed to be the victim) an Emergency Protection Order (EPO). An EPO is a short-term protection order typically given to a victim by the police or magistrate when his or her abuser is arrested for domestic violence. The EPO is generally for limited period, such as three or seven days. This permits the victim time with an EPO in place to request a longer-term protection order.
Order of Protection – All 50 states and the District of Columbia have statutes for some form of protective order. However, states call these orders different things such as protective orders, orders of protection and injunction for protection against domestic violence or injunctions against harassment.
A protective order is different from an EPO because it is longer term, typically for one to five years, and in extreme circumstances, for up to a lifetime. A victim can renew the protection order, if he or she still feels threatened by his or her abuser.
Protective orders may include children, other family members, roommates, or current romantic partners of the victim. This means the same “no contact” and “stay away” rules apply to the other listed individuals, even if the direct harm was to the victim. Some states allow pets to be protected by the same order, as abusers may harm pets to torment their victims.
Restraining Order – A restraining order is judge imposed court order requiring parties involved in a lawsuit to do or not do certain things. It may be part of a family law case, such as a divorce, or other civil codes. Restraining orders may be requested “ex parte” meaning that one party asks the court to do something without telling the other party. If the restraining order is granted ex parte, than the other party is later permitted a hearing to present their side of the story. This is often the process for protective orders also. As restraining orders also vary by state, it’s important to consult with an attorney familiar with the law where you live. Go to www.canterburylawgroup.com for more information.