Legal Guide

Domestic Abuse: Know Your Legal Rights

Domestic abuse is always a matter that should be taken seriously. Because of the stress and trauma involved in this kind of a situation, many victims aren’t aware of what their legal rights are. The law affords victims various forms of protection so that they can exit the situation safely. Here are several legal rights you have in a domestic abuse case.

Domestic Abuse Is Both A Criminal And A Civil Matter

A case of domestic abuse is dealt with in both the criminal court and the civil court. Seeking a nearby family law attorney utah can help you to navigate both, since the courts are in different systems that follow different rules.

The civil law and court is mostly aimed at protection by providing victims with the means of injunctions to prevent further contact on the perpetrator’s part. Compensation can also be awarded in the civil court.

Criminal court focuses on the punishment of the offender. This is usually the imposition of prison time and/or fines of restitution being paid to the victim.

Legal Rights Under Criminal Law

Domestic abuse is a form of assault, and is often more dangerous than simple assault by a stranger. A victim should seek criminal prosecution at their nearest police station in order to obtain more information.

Legal Rights Under Civil law

Civil courts can be petitioned to have injunctions put into place so that the abuser is no longer able to harass or hurt a victim. Measures can also be taken to remove the abuser from your home and prevent them from returning.

Legal Rights In Family Court

If there are children involved, then the Family Court can be petitioned in order to protect them. An order can be made to determine who the children should live with and where, as well as whether there should be any regular contact with the abusing parent.

Legal Rights To Accommodation

Domestic abuse victims have a legal right to obtain help with emergency or temporary accommodation so that they are not left more vulnerable during a domestic abuse situation.

Creating A Safety Plan

Before you can assert your legal rights in a domestic abuse case, it’s first important that you have a safety plan in place to get away from your abuser. You can get help to create a safety plan or you can make one of your own. Before or during an attack, you should always try to escape. Leave your home and take all of your children with you, no matter what time it is. It doesn’t hurt to have a packed bag ready to go too in case you need to stay overnight somewhere.

Identify key people in your life that you can stay with in an emergency, as well as you can lend you money. Make copies of your important documents, money, and an extra set of keys with someone that you trust.

It doesn’t hurt to ask for any legal advice when you need it in a domestic abuse case. There are free legal advice centers or toll-free numbers that you can call to help you get out of a dangerous situation.


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