The ABCs of Protective Orders

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  In King Law’s efforts to raise awareness this month, here are some simple ABC’s of domestic violence in North Carolina.  First, are you in an Abusive relationship? Next, can you get a 50B domestic violence protective order?  Or, do you need a 50C civil no-contact order?

Are you in an Abusive Relationship?

According to HeathCentral.com, there are ten signs to look for if you think you are in an abusive relationship.  Does your partner:

  • want to isolate you from friends or even family.
  • tend to insult or belittle you, even when “joking”
  • blame others a lot, and often times it’s you
  • have erratic behavior can be a catalyst of abuse, caused by alcohol or drug use
  • instill fear, uneasiness or are intimidating in their speech or actions
  • punish you or retaliate for time you spend away from them
  • expect you to be subservient but aren’t helpful themselves
  • act extremely jealous of your time, relationships and/or aspirations
  • manipulate your emotions and make you feel guilty
  • get physical (Obviously hitting someone is abusive, but physical abuse can start as intimidating posturing, grabbing or controlling your movements and space)

If you read any of these are thought “that is so me” or “that is exactly how Suzy’s boyfriend treats her,” just know that you or “Suzy” are not alone, and you don’t have to continue to remain in such a controlling and scary relationship.  Often times even small signs can be a red flag for future problems, and abusers often become more intense if they feel in control, and that you will not take action. No one deserves that type of treatment.  North Carolina has enacted laws to protect victim of domestic and sexual violence, and these laws protect all North Carolinians, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

 

What is a 50B Domestic Violence Protective Order?

The first type of protective order that is available for victims of domestic violence or sexual assault is called a Domestic Violence Protective Order, or what is more commonly called a 50B.  Domestic violence occurs when someone you have had a “personal relationship” with does any of the following to you or your minor child: attempts to cause bodily injury, or intentionally causes bodily injury; places you or a member of your family or household in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; engages in continued harassment  that rises to such a level as to inflict substantial emotional distress; or commits any rape or sexual offense defined under the North Carolina legislature.  A personal relationship includes your spouse or ex-spouse, someone of the opposite sex with whom you are dating or have dated, a person of the opposite sex who you are currently living with, or have lived with, a family member, someone with whom you have a child in common, a current or past household member.  This is a civil action, and all counties waive all filing fees if you decide to bring this type of action against your abuser.

 

What is a 50C Civil No-Contact Order?

The second type of protective order that is available is called a Civil No-Contact order, or what is more commonly called a 50C.  A 50C is a court order that aims to protect you from unwanted sexual conduct or stalking by someone you do NOT have an intimate or familial relationship with, such as an friend, co-worker, neighbor, or stranger.  IN order to get a civil no-contact order, you have to be the victim of either nonconsensual sexual conduct or stalking, which a judge will likely refer as “unlawful conduct.” Nonconsensual sexual conduct is generally any intentional touching, fondling, or sexual act (either directly or through your clothing), for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal that you did not consent to.  Stalking is generally when someone repeatedly follows or harasses you with the intent to place you in reasonable fear for your safety or your immediate family’s safety or to cause you emotional distress.  This is also a civil action, and all counties waive all filing fees if you decide to bring this type of action against your abuser.

 

Now that you know the ABC’s of Protective Orders (Abusive relationship, 50B domestic violence protective order, and 50C civil no-contact order), its time to say eNOugh to abusive relationships.  Ashley Hyman in our Concord office (located two blocks from the Cabarrus County Courthouse) has experience protecting victims of domestic violence in both 50B and 50C matters.  If you or someone you know needs protection from an abusive relationship, give her a call at 828-286-3332 for a free consult and together you can put a stop to living in fear of domestic violence.