Temporary Restraining Order

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Requesting a temporary restraining order may be the first recourse in seeking protection for victims of domestic violence, stalking, or harassment. Individuals at risk of personal injury or harm due to an abusive spouse, deranged intruder, irate neighbor, or an incestuous relative do not have to live in fear or take the law into their own hands. A court-ordered injunction provides personal around-the-clock protection for up to 30 days. The temporary injunction is a legal document which directs a perpetrator from coming within a certain distance of the victim; making contact with the victim via telephone, email or through a third party; or making inquiries about the victim's whereabouts.

Almost anyone who feels in danger of physical harm at the hands of another can request a temporary restraining order by going to local law enforcement authorities or applying at a local magistrate or civil court. Battered wives, parents of child abuse victims, coworkers, significant others, former spouses, victims of Internet bullying, and others are all protected under the law from individuals who threaten them with bodily harm or personal injury. "In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee." "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment, thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord" (Isaiah 54:14-15; 17).

Men or women who have received threats of physical abuse should not hesitate to contact the authorities. Documenting threats via instant messaging, emails, texts, via telephone or in person will provide the police with physical evidence that an attacker seriously intends to inflict harm. In cases where a victim has been physically abused, raped, or beaten, local police can request a judge to issue an emergency protective order which provides immediate personal safety for seven days until the 30-day temporary restraining order can be issued. As soon as possible after an altercation, abused and battered victims should go to the nearest police station and file charges against the perpetrator. Law enforcement officials will have a nurse on hand to examine the victim for bruises and lacerations and take photos which may be used as evidence should the case come to court. Victims of rape should refrain from showering, as the police will want DNA evidence to corroborate charges.

Once a judge signs the temporary restraining order, the perpetrator is served the injunction which establishes parameters for future involvement with the victim. An attacker may be commanded not to come within a certain distance of a battered spouse, coworker, or former girlfriend, usually 1,000 feet. Child abuse victims may be placed in foster care, and battered wives may enter a protective shelter in an undisclosed location until the court can schedule a hearing. The attacker is prohibited by law from making inquiries about the victim's whereabouts at a child's school, the custodial parent's workplace, the daycare center, or relatives' homes. In domestic violence cases, jointly owned property is prohibited from being sold by an alleged abuser and he or she cannot purchase or own a handgun. Additionally, copies of a temporary restraining order may be issued to the schools where minor and teenaged children attend so that officials are apprised of the injunction and alerted to the potential for kidnapping. Custodial parents, guardians or close relatives of children suspected of being sexually abused should never violate a protective order against a perpetrator. Efforts should be made to protect the child from further harm by keeping a close watch. Alert babysitters, relatives and family friends about attempted unsupervised visits from the abuser, and insist that the child always be accompanied by a responsible adult.

The purpose of a temporary restraining order is to buy time and put some distance between an abuser and the attacker. When husbands and wives or significant others cannot cohabitate peacefully, a 30-day injunction provides ample time for a volatile or potentially dangerous situation to dissipate. During the month-long court-ordered separation, partners may decide to go their separate ways or reconcile under certain circumstances. An abuser may be directed to attend mandatory anger management classes or psychological counseling before being allowed to come near the victim again. Child sex abusers will likely be incarcerated and the chances of coming in close contact with the victim or minor children will be nil. Coworkers, strangers, neighbors and others guilty of harassment, making terroristic threats, or stalking may also serve jail time if the temporary restraining order is violated. Other repercussions include paying a hefty fine to the victim due to inflicting emotional suffering, or making a court-ordered restitution.

Domestic abuse victims should also restrain from violating a temporary restraining order by allowing the perpetrator back into the home. Abusive lovers and spouses may become remorseful and promise the moon, but victims should not allow emotions to overrule good common sense. A protective order is only as effective as both parties make it. Victims have as much responsibility as abusers to abide by the court's decision to provide 24/7 personal safety. A dozen roses or a hundred apologies can never replace the need for real solutions like psychological counseling for individuals who feel the need to perpetrate abusive behavior. Lessons can be taken from the hundreds of thousands of unwitting victims of domestic violence who eventually wind up in the county morgue because of blindly trusting an overly aggressive spouse or partner. Diligent compliance with a protective order is added insurance against personal injury or bodily harm.

Temporary Order For Protection

A request for a temporary order for protection might be precipitated by domestic violence, stalking, or other altercations. In cases where an individual feels that their life or safety might be threatened by an irate spouse, deranged stalker, or overly attentive admirer, the law provides a remedy. A temporary protective order, also known as a restraining order, can be invoked which offers around-the-clock security for up to 30 days. Potential victims of rape, assault and battery, bullying, stalking, or harassment don't have to endure the fear of personal injury or harm. The injunction legally prohibits a potential offender from coming within a certain distance of the victim, usually 1,000 feet. Perpetrators are also ordered not to make attempts to contact victims, their relatives, or coworkers via telephone, emails, instant messages, or through a third party. Such a court-ordered injunction is the best solution law enforcement has to offer individuals who feel threatened without incurring the exorbitant cost of 24-hour police protection.

No one should ever attempt to handle instances of violence, predatory stalking, or bullying on their own. Victims of abuse may be ashamed or reluctant to call police, but a violent situation can escalate if not reported to the authorities. A familiar pattern between battered women and their abusers is a show of temporary remorse. Wife beaters often feel sorry after harming victims, or promise to change if allowed back in the home. But remorse can be short lived and abusers may have an even shorter fuse, eventually resorting back to physical violence or sexual abuse to solve emotional problems. The law is best left in the hands of the law. Victims should never attempt to deal with aggressive individuals without seeking professional help or legal recourse. Requesting a temporary order for protection, dialing Emergency 9-1-1, or having a safe place to run from an attacker are wise choices for those who may become victims of violence. "Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counselors they are established" (Proverbs 15:22).

The process for requesting a 30-day protective order begins when a potential victim of abuse calls the police or visits a local station. Officers will interview victims and a formal complaint will be lodged. In cases where victims have already been assaulted, raped, or beaten, law enforcement can request that a judge issue an emergency restraining order which offers immediate protection for seven days. In domestic violence episodes where a spouse has been physically battered or threatened by an abuser, police will not only issue an emergency injunction, but also take the perpetrator into custody, should the victim choose to press charges. Before a hearing can be scheduled to determine the abuser's fate, a temporary order for protection gives a victim a measure of security. A court-appointed social worker may help domestic victims obtain temporary housing and handle circumstances surrounding the care of minor children or teens. Every effort will be made, short of onsite police protection, to make the victim's environment safer.

When individuals are victims of stalking or Internet bullying, the process is slightly different. A temporary order for protection can be issued which prohibits accused abusers from making contact, but other measures must be taken to ensure the victim's safety. Employers and coworkers may be contacted by law enforcement and given a description of the accused abuser. Notifying coworkers, family, friends and associates is an effective way to monitor the perpetrator's movements and prevent further physical or emotional harm to victims. While a temporary order for protection offers security and is a legally binding document, law enforcement cannot guarantee the safety of victims 100% of the time. Perpetrators who violate court-ordered injunctions to stay away from their targets may still try to make contact. But violation of orders can result in abusers being incarcerated or paying a healthy fine to make restitution for emotional suffering. "He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy" (Proverbs 29:1).

What should an individual do to prevent becoming abused? While the 30-day temporary order for protection is in force, victims must be vigilant. Domestic abuse victims must not be so eager to allow spouses or significant others to reenter the home after the judge issued a restraining order. Allowing potential abusers to take up residence again violates the injunction and puts the victim at a higher risk of being beaten, raped, or murdered. In domestic violence cases, husbands and boyfriends may become violent and seek to retaliate against a loved one who dares to go to the police. Even though an abuser may appear to be remorseful or want to make amends, battered women would be wise to allow the courts or an attorney to handle any requests for contact. Hundreds of thousands of unwitting individuals are maimed, raped or killed each year because they trusted a husband, boyfriend or acquaintance instead of complying with a temporary order for protection. "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered" (Proverbs 28:26)

While a temporary order for protection is in force, abusers have an opportunity to seek help for handling behavioral problems. In domestic cases, a social worker or judge may order abusers to seek mental health counseling to address anger management or battering issues. The judge may insist that perpetrators attend classes or counseling before being allowed contact with their victims, especially in domestic abuse cases. Mandatory courses are usually attended in person and payment is the responsibility of the perpetrator. Through professional intervention in a secular or Christian setting, men and some women who habitually settle differences with violence or become fixated on individuals and commit stalking or Internet bullying can be helped. The world becomes a much safer place with the help of law enforcement agencies and legal instruments designed to protect individuals and keep society free from terror.

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