Friday, January 22, 2010

Orders of Protection work

From the Winter, 2009 - 2010 issue of the Legal Services Journal published by the Empire Justice Center:

To victims of intimate partner violence, civil orders of protection represent one of the most sought after and useful legal remedies available to help provide protection from abuse.

In a 2003 study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, individuals with permanent civil orders of protection experienced a significant decrease in the risk of police-reported domestic violence from their partners.1 Many victims indicate a preference for civil protection relief citing, among other things, the desire for basic protection from their abusers, rather than criminal punishment. Some are reluctant to proceed in the criminal system because they have a negative history of experiences with police or prosecutors, while others may have concerns about prosecution in cases not involving injury and serious abuse. Further, many victims rightfully fear ongoing retaliation from their abuser if he or she is arrested and charged with a crime.

In New York, the primary issuer of civil orders of protection is the Family Court under Article Eight. In this forum, petitioners have: access to Probation Departments, court staff or trained court-based victim advocates who can assist with petition-drafting; the aid of domestic violence or victim advocates who provide support and information as victims navigate the civil system; their case quickly heard by a decision-maker, often within 24 hours of filing a petition; the right to counsel; a lower burden of proof for non-violation proceedings; no filing fees; availability of comprehensive order of protection terms and conditions customized to meet the petitioner’s needs; and access to attorneys for the children when warranted. For many victims, the ability to have significant input in the direction of their civil case is quite meaningful and provides for improved safety planning and, in some cases, more effective outcomes.

Often time when addiction is involved domestic violence is a part of the situation. How can family members cope with an abuser, and/or addict out of control? There is no such thing as involuntary treatment for substance abuse in New York State. New York State Citizens are free to abuse substances such as alcohol if they so choose. However, they are not free to engage in criminal behavior and intoxication is not a defense.

What is a family member to do?

An Order Of Protection might help.

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