Do you live in fear of your spouse? Does the thought of him or her coming home after work or a night out with friends leave you feeling anxious and scared? Every day, domestic abuse hotlines across the country field approximately 20,000 calls from individuals who have been victimized by an abuser, often one who lives in the same home. Fear can be a paralyzing emotion and you may believe that there is nothing you can do about your situation. There are, however, options available to you that can help you find the safety and security that you deserve.
Find a Safe Place
When you are the victim of domestic violence, your abuser may have you convinced that everything is your fault and that there is nowhere for you to go. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nobody deserves to be abused for any reason, and your first step in protecting yourself is getting to a place of safety. Contact a friend or trusted family member and ask for help, no matter how guilty or humiliated you may feel about your predicament. Those who truly love you will provide the help you need. If you are far from family members or friends, there are also resources available in most communities, including here in Kane County.
Begin the Legal Process
Once you—and your children, if applicable—are safe, you can petition the court for an emergency order of protection. An emergency order of protection can be issued based on your sworn testimony that you are in danger of continued abuse. Dependent upon the circumstances of your situation, the court may impose a number of restrictions on your abuser to ensure your safety, including:
- Prohibiting him or her from entering your shared home;
- Prohibiting telephone, electronic, or in-person contact with you and/or your children;
- Prohibiting him or her from exercising allocated parenting time;
- Requiring him or her to attend counseling or substance abuse treatment;
- Requiring him or her to turn over legally owned firearms to proper authorities; and
- Prohibiting him or her from spending, destroying, or disposing of any shared assets.
If an emergency order of protection is issued, it will remain in effect for up to 21 days. In the meantime, your abuser will be afforded the opportunity to be heard in court. If a full hearing cannot be held before the expiration of your emergency order, the court may issue an interim order for an additional 30 days. Following a full hearing, a plenary order of protection may be issued with restrictions lasting up to two years.
Let Us Assist You
At Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, we understand that when you have been the victim of domestic violence, you need help, and we are here to provide assistance in keeping your family safe. Call 630-377-7770 to speak with an experienced Kane County domestic violence attorney today.