During this unsettling time of global crisis, many of us are being ordered to remain home. My first thought about being urged to stay home sounded like it could be a chance to relax, clean up the house and spend time with my family. After only 72 hours home with my kids, spouse, household responsibilities, my wife’s career demands and my career demands for working for my clients, my thoughts drastically changed. My kids are running around in need of constant supervision, my house needs constant cleaning, meals need to be prepared, laundry needs to be done, and grocery shopping must get done through crowds of potentially infected people. We all feel like we are on top of each other and patience is in short supply.
The impact of the Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 has hit us all. Many folks are experiencing anxiety, confusion and fear. The situation I am describing is happening in millions of households across the country. In addition to all the responsibilities we all face, many folks are experiencing devastating financial impact and food insecurity. When we put everything together we are left with a very dangerous recipe for domestic violence.
Regardless of what you have heard, Domestic Violence Courts are open and functioning. Domestic Violence Court is an integral part of our justice system and will continue to function 7 days a week as it always has. Domestic violence court operates on weekends and during holidays 365 days a year to help people experiencing emergencies and need protection. In Broward County, victims of domestic violence are permitted to file petitions for injunctions against violence, stalking and sexual violence just as always.
Simply because you are locked up in a house/apartment/condo/RV, you do not need to suffer additionally from an abusive person. Regardless of what an abuser may say, you have rights and you can take action to protect yourself. You can still file for an injunction.
Filing for an Injunction (restraining order) can help you if:
- You want to stop someone from abusing you
- You want to stop someone from contacting you
- You want to stop someone from doing something
While it may seem impossible at the moment to keep an abusive person away from you, an injunction will order your abuser be at least 500 feet away from you at all times. This will remove the abuser from your home and protect you from future harm.
Types of Restraining Orders
There are several types of Injunctions and Restraining orders that can be filed. Each deals with a different type of conduct that the petitioner wants to stop. The most common injunctions are: Dating, Domestic, Repeat, Sexual and Stalking.
Violence or stalking that has occurred, or that the Petitioner has reasonable cause to believe they are in imminent danger of becoming a victim of, between individuals who (1) have been in a dating relationship within the past 6 months (2) have had an expectation of affection or sexual involvement and (3) have been involved over time and on a continuous basis, excluding individuals who have engaged in ordinary fraternization in a business or social context.
Violence or stalking that has occurred, or that the Petitioner has reasonable cause to believe they are in imminent danger of becoming the victim of, between individuals who are spouses, former spouses, or persons related by blood or marriage who are residing or have resided together as a family, or individuals who are residing together or have resided together as if family, or individuals who have a child in common.
Two acts of Violence or stalking on two separate occasions, one of which must have been within the past 6 months committed by a person against another person. These types of Injunctions are usually appropriate for neighbor-against-neighbor, coworker-against-coworker, or other types of relationships that are of a non-domestic or non-dating nature.
Stalking Violence means someone is purposely following or harassing you repeatedly over a period of time for no legitimate purpose, causing you emotional stress. If in doing so, he/she threatens your life or threatens to harm you, with the intent to cause you reasonable fear for your safety, then the act becomes aggravated.
Any one of the following criteria must be met: (1) You must have reported the incident to law enforcement and be cooperating in any criminal proceedings or (2) The Respondent must have been sentenced to prison and the term expired or is due to expire within 90 days, and any incident of the following: (1) sexual battery (2) a lewd or lascivious act, committed upon or in the presence of a person younger than 16 (3) luring or enticing a child (4) sexual performance by a child or (5) any other forcible felony wherein a sexual act is committed or attempted.
Contact a Broward County Restraining Order Lawyer
If you are facing any issue wherever you are involving an abusive person, consider speaking with an experienced attorney to discuss your options in filing injunction or restraining order. It is important that you contact the office of Attorney Grant Schwarz for a free consultation. Your options are still here to help during the COVID-19 Crisis.