Being in an abusive relationship is traumatizing, whether it is with an intimate partner, spouse or relative. Often, the pattern of domestic violence evolves over time, perhaps starting with a casual remark or touch that leaves another feeling ill at ease. Because the slow creep of escalating incidents happens over time, it can be difficult to recognize and numbing to those who are victimized.
The victim may stay in the relationship, hoping things will improve or that their abuser will go back to behaving like the individual they once knew. For the children of abuse, the cost is high. Children who have been exposed to domestic violence are at risk of experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder, which can cripple their emotional, physical and psychological wellbeing.
Protective orders in New York
In New York State, the law defines an act of domestic violence as a family offense, and the crime may be prosecuted in the courts as:
- Aggravated harassment
- Sexual abuse
Victims of a family offense may request a protective order, but the process is different depending on whether they file a petition in Family Court or Criminal Court. There are two types of protection orders in New York:
- Full Orders: The parties must stay away and have no contact.
- Limited Orders: The parties may have contact but there must be no family or criminal offenses.
An order of protection can keep the protected person and children safe from any contact at the residence, work, or school. It can also give custody of the children to the protected person, alter visitation schedules, require child or spousal support, require the respondent to pay medical costs or legal fees, or place them under probation.
Recovering from an abusive relationship
Domestic violence is more common than some might believe, as it affects one in three women and one in four men in this country. In 2018, 228,769 protective orders were issued in the state of New York. When an abuser has access to a firearm, this increases the risk of a fatality five-fold.
The first step to leaving an abusive relationship is to get help. For residents of Suffolk County, it is important to learn how the law can protect you and what to do to take care of yourself and your loved ones.