Protection from Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a pattern of relationship behavior used for power and control over an intimate partner. Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, marital status, economic or social background, education, religion or gender.

Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone.

You may be in an emotionally abusive relationship if your partner:

  • Calls you names, insults you or continually criticizes you.
  • Does not trust you and acts jealous or possessive.
  • Limits what you do, where you go, and who you see.
  • Controls finances or refuses to share money.
  • Punishes you by withholding affection.
  • Threatens to hurt you, the children, your family, or your pets.
  • Humiliates you in any way.

You may be in a physically abusive relationship if your partner has ever:

  • Damaged property when angry.
  • Pushed, slapped, bitten, kicked or strangled you or used force in a sexual situation.
  • Abandoned you in a dangerous or unfamiliar place.
  • Scared you by driving recklessly or threatening you with a weapon.
  • Forced you to leave your home or trapped you in your home.
  • Prevented you from calling police or seeking medical attention.
  • Hurt your children.

You may be in a sexually abusive relationship if your partner:

  • Views women as objects and believes in rigid gender roles.
  • Accuses you of cheating or is jealous of your outside relationships.
  • Wants you to dress in a sexual way.
  • Insults you in sexual ways or calls you sexual names.
  • Has forced you into to having sex or performing unwanted sexual acts.
  • Demanded sex when you were sick, tired, or after beating you.
  • Hurt you with weapons or objects during sex.
  • Involved other people in sexual activities with you.
  • Ignored your feelings regarding sex.

Protect Yourself with a PROTECTIVE ORDER

OFP: An order for protection, OFP, is an order signed by a judge requiring abusers to stop the abuse or face serious legal consequences. The judge can order your abuser not to contact you and to stay away from your house or work. An OFP can be given even if the abuser is a family or household member and there are incidents of domestic abuse. The OFP can last for two years unless the judge extends it.

How to get an OFP: Victims go to court and file appropriate paperwork. Judges will issue a temporary protection order if they find there is an immediate danger of abuse. Full protection orders are issued after a court hearing with both parties. The filing fee can be waived for low-income victims.

HRO: A harassment restraining order, HRO, is an order from the court that instructs the harasser to stop harassing you and to have no contact with you. If you are not eligible for an OFP, you may be eligible for an HRO. Anyone who is the victim of harassment can file an HRO.  You do not need to have a personal experience with your harasser.  An HRO will generally last up to two years.

How to get an HRO:  victims go to court and file appropriate paperwork. The filing fee can be waived for low-income victims.

DA-NCO: A domestic abuse-no contact order, DA-NCO, is issued by the court. It can be ordered during a criminal proceeding for domestic abuse, harassment or stalking of a family or household member, violation of an OFP, or violation of a prior no-contact order.