By the time you finish reading this blog, about 40 people will have been physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. While rates have declined since the mid-1990s, the number of victims is still sky high.
Many authors and researchers tackle the topic of domestic violence in an attempt to inform the public, advance research and help victims and survivors. Throughout the vast collection of literature on the topic, researchers have theorized the roots of domestic violence, created classifications for the various types of assailants, and developed self-help books, but those books are best used by people in a position to help.
For the victim, their focus is on survival only. The role of everyone else is to stay informed, and be ready, if asked to help.
Domestic violence, explained
Domestic violence is, put simply, abuse committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Federal laws and regulations surrounding domestic violence go into great detail about what a spouse or intimate partner is and to what degree of violence or abuse qualifies, but those are distinctions that should not hold a person back from pursuing help.
The purpose of the law is to stop the abuse from taking place and one of the ways that can happen is through a protective order. An experienced family law attorney can navigate the law on your behalf.
How a protective order can help
In Alaska, you can petition for a protective order as you see fit. If you walk into the office of an experienced family law attorney, they will walk you through each step.
A protective order, also known as a restraining order, is a legal order, issued by a state court. Depending on the circumstances of the situation, the judge may approve one of three types of domestic violence protective orders:
- Emergency order: Typically lasts 72 hours
- Ex parte order: Typically lasts 20 days
- Final order: Typically lasts from 1 year to until further notice from the court
A family law attorney can help the victim decide which order bests suits their situation and help answer any questions along the way. If an abuser violates a protective order, it is important that the victim call 911 immediately. The next call should be to the victim’s family law attorney. The attorney will likely notify the court of the violation, initiating the misdemeanor charge, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.