If you have suffered from abuse, stalking, or harassment, you may have been advised by family, friends, coworkers, or medical professionals to pursue a restraining order against your abuser. While this can be a daunting process, it is important to understand that a restraining order can provide you with a number of benefits and protections.
Restraining Orders Minimize Unwanted Contact
Once a restraining order is in place, your abuser is not only legally prohibited from approaching you physically, but they also must avoid all forms of contact with you. They cannot call, text, email, or message you via social media.
Restraining Orders Protect Your Home and Finances
If your abuser lives with you, a protective order can force them to:
- Move out of your shared home
- Relinquish any control over utilities and services
- Stop making changes to shared insurance policies
- Stop withdrawing money from shared banking or investment accounts
Restraining Orders Offer Faster Legal Remedies
If your abuser violates the terms of the restraining order, they can be subject to immediate penalties. Violating an order may be considered a felony, misdemeanor, or a contempt of court charge and can bring penalties of up to ten years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
Restraining Orders Are Effective
Unlike in the movies, restraining orders in the real world work. A study by the National Center for State Courts showed that:
- 85% of abuse victims reported life improvement after taking out a restraining order
- More than 90% percent reported feeling better about themselves
- 80% felt safer with a restraining order in place.
Restraining Orders Protect Your Peace of Mind
While under the protection of a restraining order, you can enjoy increased peace of mind knowing that your abuser is legally prohibited from continuing their pattern of abuse. Additionally, some restraining orders may order your abuser to attend counseling or seek other mental health assistance, helping further ensure your future safety.
Depending on your specific case, other protections may be part of a restraining order. A legal professional can help you understand more about what a restraining or protective order can and cannot do to help keep you and your loved ones safe.