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Victims of domestic abuse and violence in the Bronx are protected by special state laws that apply to all New York residents. One way that the law protects these victims is by allowing them to request orders of protection. There are a few different types of protection orders and the one you would request will depend on the specific circumstances in your case. Taking the time to learn about this area of the law will help you be better prepared, if you ever do need to make use of these resources.

Emergency Protection Orders
This type of protection order doesn’t usually go through a hearing, because it’s intended to provide immediate relief. When the police are summoned to a domestic disturbance, the officers will conduct interviews with each party in an attempt to determine what happened to cause the dispute. They do this, because they will try to remove the aggressor from the situation by forcing him or her to vacate the home.

If the aggressor is arrested, the victim may be granted an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) by the police, whether they request it or not. This provides temporary relief to the victim, while the aggressor faces charges for the assault. The EPO is usually only valid for a brief period, which can be from three days up to a full week. While this is a short period, it does provide an opportunity for the victim to petition the court for a regular order of protection.

An Order of Protection
In the Bronx, an order of protection is different from a restraining order and it can be valid for up to five years, though some orders of protection are only good for one year. If the abuser presents a more serious risk to the victim, a judge may impose a lifetime order of protection to ensure the protection order never expires.
While most people assume all orders of protection prohibit any contact, this isn’t always the case. It is possible to obtain this type of order, which prohibits online, email, and text messaging contact as well as in-person contact, but precise restrictions vary. For example, if the two individuals share custody of a child, the order may allow peaceful communication, as long as contact is limited to exchanging custody of the child.

There may also be a provision that requires the abuser to move out of the home. In this case, the order of protection may also restrict the individual from coming within a certain distance to the victim. This will usually include approaching the individual’s school, place of employment, or the residences of family members. In many cases, orders of protection also prohibit the abuser from owning or possessing firearms. In issuing the order, a judge may also require that the abuser attend counseling sessions.

The order of protection can protect more than one individual, but this will also depend on the circumstances. Where the aggressor has a tendency to become violent, the order will likely prohibit him or her from approaching children as well as the adult victim. It’s equally common for protections to be extended to family pets. This has become common, because abusers often harm or torment pets as a means of frightening their human victims.

Restraining Orders
In family law cases in the Bronx, a restraining order can be confused with an order of protection, even though it serves an entirely different purpose. A restraining order makes it illegal for an individual to commit a specific act and can be issued in any type of civil case. Where family law cases are concerned, a restraining order may be used to keep one partner from doing something that will adversely affect the other partner.

One common way a restraining order is used in child custody cases is by prohibiting a custodial parent from taking the child out of the court’s jurisdiction. A temporary restraining order may be issued, which states neither parent can transport the child out of the city or county in which they reside. Making use of a restraining order ensures all parties are available to appear in court until the matter is settled.

The legal system recognizes that some people may need help to stay safe from their abusers. This is why protection orders are available. If you are a victim of abuse and you’re uncertain about how to obtain an order of protection, you should contact an experienced family law attorney immediately. A lawyer who handles domestic violence cases can help you get the legal protection you need for yourself and for the rest of your family.

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