Domestic violence and protective orders

Research from the National Violence Against Women Prevention Center suggests that most victims of domestic abuse do not request restraining orders after an initial incident of violent mistreatment. It usually takes years - sometimes decades - before victims petition the court for safety. The survey determined that only 36 percent of those victimized by stalking, 17 percent of assault victims and 16 percent of sexual assault victims sought orders following a primary incident.

Nevertheless, legal scholars suggest that protective or restraining orders are effective at curbing acts of future violence. These devices are a court order, meaning a judge is declaring that a particular person is not permitted to have contact with another individual. If the person does so, this is violating a court order.

Generally, protective orders can be effective because they help diffuse a situation. However, scholars note that the period immediately following separation is the most significant for victims of abuse. When victims make the first step to initiate distance, this is when trouble may ensue. According to the Courier-Post, this is the time when abusers attempt to assert dominance or control over the victim.

The good news is that a 2009 study from the University of Kentucky study has determined that protective or restraining orders are generally helpful. The study followed 700 women who had requested protective orders for a period of 12 months. The research found that when orders are created in a way that meets a particular person's needs, they help keep a person safe (assuming enforcement is in place). A 2009 U.S. Department of Justice report notes that if abusers do not have any sort of deterrent against them, they tend to reoffend. This is where the vicious cycle of abuse begins.

The importance of hiring an attorney in domestic assault cases

Under Texas family law codes, domestic violence can include threats of physical harm between family members, which place one or more individuals in fear. The same applies to threats of assault or rape.

However, it is important to know that both alleged victims and assailants have rights under the law. While many victims receive solace in the protection provided under these mandates, some individuals abuse the safeguards that the legal system provides.

If you are involved in issues pertaining to domestic violence or abuse, take to the time to speak with a local attorney who is experienced in family law services. A lawyer will be by your side.