Orders for protection are designed to protect individuals from their alleged abusers and these orders are proving to be successful in halting domestic violence within individual households.
It is very important that there is a tool to end domestic violence so that individuals can feel safer and move on with their lives. The importance is due to the fact that domestic violence can eventually lead to death if it is able to continue.
An example of how domestic violence can end in death is the October 2012 case of a man who shot his wife in a sandwich shop to then turn the gun on himself. Although police officers had previously stated that they felt she was at risk of fatal harm, she did not end the relationship. This is common, as it can take several tries to leave an abusive relationship before the victim becomes successful. Usually the success does not occur until after severe injury has been sustained.
The sandwich shop case is just one of many following a trend. In 2011, 34 individuals died as the result of domestic violence. If the protection order was not in place, that number could possibly be higher.
The Minnesota Domestic Abuse Act outlines what steps need to be taken to determine whether or not a protection order is appropriate. The order then relieves the fear that a victim feels and also keeps them from physical harm. The law says that the petitioner does not have to disclose their location, so the court will keep that information secret. The abuser is ordered to stay away from the victim and to not contact them. If they share a residence, the alleged abuser must leave.
If there is immediate danger, then the victim can get a protection order from the court without the alleged abuser being notified and without them being able to defend themselves in court. The accused may be able to answer later, but a protection order typically lasts for two years unless the court feels that it is necessary for it to last longer.
Overall, this is a rather lengthy and complex law, but it is one that is important because it subjects the accused abuser to arrest if the order is violated. If convicted of the violation, the end result is jail time. Punishment can be even harsher if the violation of the order involves a firearm. The law even covers provisions for child support, visitation, pet care, financial support, restitution, insurance, and much more.
Whether you need an order or you have been served with a petition for a protection order against you, it is important to consult with your attorney as soon as possible to learn about the process and your options.