Domestic violence is an all too common occurrence in Ohio, despite the fact that very few people openly talk about it. Whether an individual shares the details of abuse by a significant other with family and friends is one thing, but it is an entirely different thing when it comes to telling the police and a court of law. Those who are subject to domestic violence can call the police to ensure their immediate safety, but many domestic violence victims are afraid of the long-term consequences of disclosing the abuse. For instance, how will they be protected when the police leave?
Depending on the situation at hand, there may be multiple options available to an individual seeking protection from an abuser. If the couple is going through a separation or a divorce, then a restraining order may be sought. If issued, a restraining order disallows an abuser from contacting or being near the victim. If the abuser violates the restraining order, then that person may be held in contempt of court. It is worth noting, however, that restraining orders often end once a divorce is finalized, and the police do not enforce them.
Protective orders, on the other hand, have a great reach. Similar to a restraining order, these orders protect domestic violence victims from their abusers by disallowing contact. Unlike a restraining order, however, law enforcement must respond to reports of a violation of a protective order. Additionally, a protective order may allow law enforcement officials to evict an abuser from the victim's home. Protective orders can also last longer.
When it comes to determining if a restraining or protective order is right for an individual, Ohio residents will want to consider the long-term implications. For example, a violation of a protective order may have ramifications on child custody and visitation.
Source: Ohio Legal Services, "Difference Between Restraining Order and Civil Protection Order," accessed April 2, 2016