There are about 15 calls to U.S. domestic violence hotlines per minute, according to The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. That means tens of thousands of people fear for their safety every day from a romantic partner or parent.
With those kinds of numbers, it is no wonder Colorado courts take emergency orders of protection, sometimes known as restraining orders, so seriously.
Despite how common they are, there is a fair amount of confusion regarding what a domestic order of protection is. In this blog, we will attempt to clear up some of that confusion.
First, the basics
An emergency order of protection is a court order that prevents your abuser from taking certain actions, such as contacting you or picking up your children from school or daycare. The exact restrictions can vary.
A couple of things an emergency order of protection can do:
- Be issued on the same day it is requested
- Make your abuser leave the home, even if he or she is a rightful owner
- Temporarily remove children from the custody of the abuser
A couple of things emergency orders of protection cannot do (at least without other actions):
- Make your abuser go to jail
- Decide a disputed child custody case
- Result in a permanent solution
A restraining order is not a criminal matter, so your abuser does not have to be present for you to get one
A temporary order of protection is not a criminal case. In criminal cases, the defendant has the right to defend him or herself in court. An emergency order of protection, however, does not require your abuser to be present.
Physical violence does not have to have already occurred
Threats of violence are a very good reason to get a temporary order of protection. Please don’t wait until violence has already occurred.
There are different types of orders of protection
An emergency order of protection is issued as quickly as possible and lasts a short time. Once that is obtained, you can get a permanent order of protection, but the requirements for obtaining one are slightly different.
Orders of protection are enforceable
Occasionally people argue that getting a restraining order is not worth the hassle, or actually helps to incite violence. It is true that other actions should be taken along with getting a restraining order, if possible, to reduce the risk of abuse. For example, if you believe your abuser will violate the restraining order, going to a shelter or to an unexpected but safe place, such as a friend’s house, is a very good idea.
But rest assured that restraining orders are enforceable, and they can work. Just be sure to report violations to the police. Getting an emergency order of protection doesn’t mean your abuser is guilty of a crime. However, violating an order of protection is a crime.