Orders of Protection
Domestic Violence is a pattern of coercive tactics, including, physical, psychological, sexual, economic and emotional abuse, by one person against an intimate partner, with the goal of establishing and maintaining power and control over the victim. Domestic violence affects the lives of people from different backgrounds; it happens regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, socioeconomic status, education and occupation, with tragic, sometimes fatal consequences.
Persons who are abused by an intimate partner just want the violence and abuse to stop, but not to leave the relationship with the abuser. Ending a relationship is hard for everyone and women who are abused face the added risks of physical and psychological harm.
A victim of domestic violence can request the court to grant an Order of Protection to protect the victim and to limit the behavior of the person who committed the harm or threatened to do so.
Victims may apply for an order of protection from Family Court or Criminal Court, or both courts simultaneously and request an order of protection against the perpetrator and to order him/her to stay away from the victim and the children involved.
Family law attorney Ingrid Gherman can assist you in obtaining such an Order. Throughout her many years practicing matrimonial law, Ingrid has assisted countless clients in gaining the protective orders necessary to stave off continued abuse. If you are in a situation which might require court intervention against domestic abuse, contact Ingrid’s law office at (212) 941-0767 to arrange a time to consult with Ingrid about your situation. You can also fill out and send the convenient on-line form.
Family and Criminal Courts have concurrent jurisdiction over "family offenses" including menacing, assault, stalking, sexual abuse or misconduct, and strangulation. Civil charges can be brought by victims in family court and criminal charges can be brought in criminal court. Actions can be brought by the victim in both courts at the same time.
The Family Court handles cases where neither person is accused of committing a crime. In a civil domestic violence action, the victim is asking for protection from the abuser, not punishment of the abuser. The Criminal Court deals with cases involving violations of criminal law and requires pressing criminal charges against the abuser.A perpetrator can be convicted as follows:
Assault: depending upon the harm done physically, whether the aggressor intended to inflict that harm, and the tangible harm the victim suffered.
Stalking: when aggressor intentionally engages in conduct aimed at the victim and possessing the knowledge that this conduct it is likely to cause or does be harmful to the victim's emotional or mental health; and the victim having realistic fear of harm to her/his physical well-being, property or safety or of the victim's family; or rational fear that the victim's income, employment, career or business is threatened.
Menacing: when aggressor intentionally places the victim in fear of physical harm or death by brandishing a lethal weapon or dangerous implement; or repeatedly and continually follows the other person or commits menacing acts over a time period intending to put the victim in fear of physical harm or even death.
Strangulation is criminally obstructing breathing or circulation of the blood which results in the victim's grave physical harm.Community Services Available
A community agency that offers services to victims of domestic violence can be the first step to safety and support. There is a domestic violence program in every county of NY state. All programs offer services such as support groups, legal advice and children's services. Some programs also offer a safe place to stay. To find the domestic violence program in your area, call the NYS Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-942-6906
In NYC: 1-800-621-HOPE (4673) or dial 311 TTY: 1-866-604-5350; Spanish language: 1-800-942-6908