For a domestic violence victim, the most dangerous place to be maybe their own home. While lockdowns and quarantines have been essential tools in slowing the spread of the Coronavirus, early statistics are showing an increase in domestic violence incidents.
What is domestic violence? North Carolina defines domestic violence to be one or more acts on an aggrieved party or upon a minor child residing with the aggrieved party by a person with who the aggrieved party has or had a personal relationship. An act of domestic violence can be:
(1) intentionally causing or attempting to cause bodily injury;
(2) making the aggrieved person (or member of their household or family) be in fear of imminent serious bodily injury;
(3) making the aggrieved person (or member of their household or family) in fear of continued harassment which inflicts substantial emotional distress; or
(4) the commission of rape or other criminal sex offense. Acts of self-defense are specifically excluded from the definition of an act of domestic violence.
With lockdowns, quarantines, and stay at home orders, many individuals who are victims of domestic violence may have more difficulty leaving the abusive situation.
While most Court proceedings have be postponed, emergency matters, such as Domestic Violence Protective Orders can still be filed.
What is a Domestic Violence Protective Order? A Domestic Violence Protective Order (or “DVPO”) is a Court Order that prohibits an aggressor from contacting the victim of domestic violence. A DVPO can offer many forms of relief, including but not limited to: prohibiting the aggressor from showing up at the victims home or place of work. If the victim and aggressor reside together, the DVPO can grant the victim possession of the parties’ residence and evict the aggressor from the residence. A DVPO can also temporarily address child custody if the parties share minor children.
How to Get Help
If you are a victim of domestic violence, there are a variety of steps you can take. Depending on your individual situation, your first step may be to leave the house, file for DVPO, speak with an attorney, or a combination of these steps.
First, you need to get yourself to a safe place which may require calling law enforcement for assistance. You can reach out to your local domestic violence center which will have many resources to help you.
If possible and if it can be done safely, try to meet with an attorney prior to leaving the home to be sure you protect all of your rights, especially if you plan on leaving the marital home or taking your children with you.
If you want assistance in filing a DVPO, and want to discuss your rights, we are here to help. Contact King Law at 888-748-5464(KING) for a consultation. We have offices located across western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina. We are here to serve you and help navigate this journey you are on.