Restraining order

Restraining order

A restraining order or order of protection is a form of legal injunction that requires a party to do, or to refrain from doing, certain acts. A party that refuses to comply with an order faces criminal or civil penalties and may have to pay damages or accept sanctions. Breaches of restraining orders can be considered serious criminal offences that merit arrest and possible prison sentences. The term is most commonly used in reference to domestic violence, harassment, stalking or sexual assault. In the United States, each state has some form of domestic violence restraining order law,[1] and many states also have specific restraining order laws for stalking[2] and sexual assault.[3]

Restraining and personal protection order laws vary from one jurisdiction to another but all establish who can file for an order, what protection or relief a person can get from such an order, and how the order will be enforced.

When the abuser does something that the court has ordered him or her not to do, or refuses to do something the court has ordered him or her to do, that is a violation of the order. The victim can ask the police or the court, or both, depending on the violation, to enforce the order.

Contents

Restraining order provisions

All protective order statutes permit the court to order the abuser to stay away from someone, their home, their workplace or their school ("stay away" provisions) and to stop contacting them. Victims generally also can ask the court to order that all contact, whether by telephone, notes, mail, fax, email or delivery of flowers or gifts, be prohibited ("no contact" provisions). Courts can also order the abuser to stop hurting or threatening someone ("cease abuse" provisions).

Some states also allow the court to order the abuser to pay temporary support or continue to make mortgage payments on a home owned by both people ("support" provisions), to award sole use of a home or car owned by both people ("exclusive use" provisions), or to pay for medical costs or property damage caused by the abuser ("restitution" provisions). Some courts might also be able to order the abuser to turn over any firearms and ammunition he or she has ("relinquish firearms" provisions), attend a batterers' treatment program, appear for regular drug tests, or start alcohol or drug abuse counselling.

Many jurisdictions also allow the court to make decisions about the care and safety of any children. Courts can order the abuser to stay away from and have no contact with the children's doctors, daycare, school or after-school job. Most courts can make temporary child custody decisions. Some can issue visitation or child support orders. A victim can also ask the court to order supervised visitation, or to specify a safe arrangement for transferring the children back and forth ("custody, visitation and child support" provisions).

Burden of proof and misuse

Misuse of restraining orders is claimed to be widespread. Elaine Epstein, former president of the Massachusetts Bar Association, has remarked, “Everyone knows that restraining orders and orders to vacate are granted to virtually all who apply…In many cases, allegations of abuse are now used for tactical advantage.”

A 1995 study conducted by the Massachusetts Trial Court that reviewed domestic restraining orders issued in the state found that less than half of the orders involved even an allegation of violence. Similarly a West Virginia study found eight out of 10 orders were unnecessary or false.[4] The low burden of proof for restraining orders has led to some high-profile cases involving stalkers of celebrities obtaining restraining orders against their targets. American TV host David Letterman had such a restraining order temporarily imposed upon him in 2005.[4]

Effectiveness

The effectiveness of restraining orders to protect people from violence is questionable. Samuel Goldberg, a Boston attorney specializing in partner abuse cases, remarks that restraining orders are awarded so casually that “they are not taken as seriously as they should be.” The Independent Women’s Forum likewise decries these legal tropes as “lulling women into a false sense of security.”

Restraining orders can also escalate partner conflict. In its Family Legal Guide, the American Bar Association warns, “a court order might even add to the alleged offender’s rage.”[4]

Jurisdictions

United Kingdom

In the UK, a non-molestation order is Part IV of the Family Law Act 1996[citation needed]. Non molestation orders are a type of injunction used to protect a partner or ex-partner from hurting, intimidating, harassing, etc., you or your children. In the UK, breaching this order is a criminal offence.[5] Under the Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act, 2004, same-sex couples experiencing same-sex domestic violence and abuse[6] are able to get protection with a non molestation order. When in conjunction with domestic violence, the non molestation order is granted under legal aid irrespective of income.[7]

United States

Restraining orders may also be enforced across state lines, in accordance with the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution[8] via the National Crime Information Center database.[9] Some states (for example, Mississippi[10]) may also call a restraining order a peace bond and are similar to ASBO laws in the UK.

See also

References

External links


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • restraining order — see order 3b Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. restraining order …   Law dictionary

  • Restraining Order — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Restraining order est le terme anglophone pour une ordonnance restrictive, une injonction contraignant à faire ou ne pas faire certains choses. le titre… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • restraining order — restraining orders N COUNT A restraining order is an order by a court of law that someone should stop doing something until a court decides whether they are legally allowed to continue doing it. [mainly AM, LEGAL] His estranged wife had taken out …   English dictionary

  • restraining order — I. noun : a preliminary legal order sometimes issued to keep a situation unchanged pending decision upon an application for an injunction II. noun : a legal order issued against an individual to restrict or prohibit access or proximity to another …   Useful english dictionary

  • restraining order — UK [rɪˈstreɪnɪŋ ˌɔː(r)də(r)] / US [rɪˈstreɪnɪŋ ˌɔrdər] noun [countable] Word forms restraining order : singular restraining order plural restraining orders legal a legal document from a judge that stops someone from doing something She took out a …   English dictionary

  • Restraining order — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Restraining order est le terme anglophone pour une ordonnance restrictive, une injonction contraignant à faire ou ne pas faire certaines choses. C est… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • restraining order — re|strain|ing or|der [ rı streınıŋ ,ɔrdər ] noun count a legal document issued by a judge that stops someone from doing something: She took out a restraining order against the man accused of stalking her …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • restraining order — n. (Law) court order instructing a person not to do something (such as make contact with another person, prohibiting or restraining access or proximity with another person, enter or come close to the family home, take a child from the country etc …   English contemporary dictionary

  • restraining order — noun Date: circa 1876 1. a preliminary legal order sometimes issued to keep a situation unchanged pending decision upon an application for an injunction 2. a legal order issued against an individual to restrict or prohibit access or proximity to… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • restraining order — Broadly, any injunction other than a mandatory injunction, In common legal usage, an order granted without notice to the adverse party, intended only as a restraint on him until the propriety of gr anting a temporary injunction can be determined …   Ballentine's law dictionary


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