Statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence indicate that one in four women will be the victim of domestic violence at some point in their lifetimes. 85 percent of the victims of domestic violence are women, according to the NCADV, and it is further estimated that 1.3 million women are victims of domestic violence each year.
The legislature and legal community in Arizona have implemented laws and tools to help those who have been affected by domestic violence. One of these tools is an Order of Protection.
Obtaining an Order of Protection
To obtain an Order of Protection, it must be shown that the offender has been physically abusive, has threatened, harassed, stalked or has shown the intent to do any of these things to the individual requesting the protection order from the court. A petition for an Order of Protection must include the name and address of the petitioner. The petitioner is the individual seeking protection. If it is unsafe for the abuser to know the address of the petitioner, the court will protect the information from public record. The relationship between the parties and the facts surrounding the abusive behavior must also be included in the Petition.
The parent of a child who is under the age of 15 can also file a petition requesting an Order of Protection on behalf of a child who has been the victim or a violent crime, or attempted violent crime.
How an Order of Protection Functions
Most of the time, an Order of Protection can restrain the abuser from coming to the home, place of employment and school of the petitioner. Individuals who have an Order of Protection against them cannot possess a firearm, and all currently owned firearms must be turned over to the police within 24 hours. Courts often grant one of the parties exclusive use of a shared home if they are living together. The offender will also typically be ordered to participate in a domestic violence offender treatment program. A police officer can accompany the offender to remove personal belongings from a shared residence.
An Order of Protection is meant to help protect individuals in abusive situations. But the choice to file an order can be a difficult decision. Anyone who has been the victim of domestic violence may wish to contact an experienced family law attorney who can help advise you of your legal options.