The most dangerous time for victims, the time they are most likely to be injured or killed, is when they leave the abuser. A legal Order of Protection can be helpful, but it is not always enough to keep you safe.
There are steps you can take to increase your safety whether you leave or not. Thoughtful preparation of a personalized safety plan can help you be alert to the most common dangers and can provide you with a critical 'edge' if you are forced to leave.
Visit the following link to learn more about the importance of safety planning: Women's Law Initiative: Safety Planning
Getting an Order of Protection
An Order of Protection is a document issued by a court to help protect you and your children from abuse. It sets forth the terms and conditions under which an abusive partner may and may not have contact with you and/or your children. It documents the abuse and can be helpful in substantiating your case in the event of subsequent legal conflicts with your partner such as child custody and visitation. If your abusive partner violates any provision of the Order of Protection, he may be sanctioned with fines, probation or jail.
If the abuser is your spouse or you have a child in common, you may seek an Order of Protection through Family Court. Family Court is a civil court. Click here for a general description of the process in Dutchess County, NY.
If the abuser is not your spouse, or you are partners but do not have a child in common, you must seek an Order of Protection through Criminal Court. You must first press charges with the police serving the area where the incident occurred. Click here for a general description of the process in Dutchess County, NY.