Domestic violence is a devastating form of abuse that occurs between two people who share some form of close or intimate personal relationship. The victims include women and men and people of all ages and social classes. Acts of domestic violence are among the most underreported crimes.
Unfortunately, abusive partners tend to get more controlling, frightening and abusive over time. If you are a domestic violence victim, it is important to contact a North Carolina domestic violence victim attorney to understand your rights and protect yourself from further harm.
The Raleigh domestic violence attorneys at Charles R. Ullman & Associates have experience helping victims of domestic abuse and intimate partner abuse. We can discuss your legal rights and the steps that you can take, including seeking a protective order to keep you and your family safe. Our compassionate and committed attorneys have helped numerous Raleigh and Wake County residents leave violent situations.
What is Considered Domestic Violence in North Carolina?
North Carolina defines domestic violence as abuse that occurs between two parties who share a personal relationship. A personal relationship includes:
- Current or former spouses
- Persons of the opposite sex who live together or have lived together
- Parents and children
- Grandparents and grandchildren
- Any person acting as a parent to a minor child
- Persons who have a child in common
- Current or former household members
- Persons of the opposite sex who are in a dating relationship.
The North Carolina civil domestic violence laws are found in Chapter 50B of the state’s general statutes. Using these laws, an NC domestic violence lawyer at Charles Ullman & Associates can help you seek protection and relief from spousal abuse.
Domestic Violence Against Women
The most common form of domestic violence is violence against women, which is all too prevalent in the United States. Statistically, one in four women will experience some form of domestic abuse in her life.
Approximately 1.3 million women in the U.S. are assaulted by an intimate partner each year, according to the American Bar Association’s Commission on Domestic Violence. Domestic violence includes spousal abuse and violence toward children, which can occur in any household.
You should not have to live in fear while trying to work and raise a family. Our compassionate attorneys help victims of abuse and violence step away from a violent situation and move to safety.
Domestic Violence Against Men
While most victims of domestic violence are women, domestic violence against men may also happen and have legal protection when abuse occurs.
A male may suffer physical assault, sexual assault or other intentional harm from a spouse or intimate partner constituting male domestic abuse. The violence may start as isolated incidents and develop into a pattern of abusive or violent behavior. The abuser may attempt to claim that the victim did something to prompt the violence or was somehow at fault.
It’s not uncommon for males who are victims of domestic violence to feel ashamed to admit to others what they have been enduring. You should know that help is available. You have rights under N.C. domestic violence laws to be free of physical and emotional abuse including intimidation and threats of physical violence.
Our attorneys have helped men get the protection they needed to move out of dangerous relationships.
What Are the Types of Charges for Domestic Violence?
Depending on the specific incident, the police may detain a violent or abusive spouse on a range of criminal charges including:
- simple assault
- assault on a female
- sexual battery
- assault in the presence of a minor
- domestic criminal trespass
- communicating threats
- violation of a domestic protection order.
Criminal prosecution may be appropriate depending on the particulars of the situation. There may be other appropriate civil steps that you can take to protect yourself from further harm or domestic abuse.
For example, we may be able to help you obtain a permanent restraining order or Domestic Violence Protective Order, which we’ll discuss below. The order would prevent an abuser from threatening you or stalking you.
If you or your child has been a victim of domestic violence, call our Wake County domestic violence lawyers at Charles R. Ullman & Associates to find out how we may be able to help you.
What to Do if You Are a Victim of Domestic Abuse
Knowing what to do if you are confronting domestic violence or an abusive situation is critical to your efforts to protect yourself. Abusers often behave in unpredictable ways, with seemingly minor incidents or disputes escalating into violence.
Whether you still live with an abuser or potentially abusive person, or you have already sought refuge from an abusive environment, it is critical to creating a plan of action in case you are confronted with a potentially abusive situation.
Taking out a protective order (commonly referred to as a “restraining order”) is an additional step that you may take to protect yourself from an abusive individual. North Carolina courts issue two types of protective orders:
- Ex parte or temporary protective order (TPO) —This type of protective order may be issued immediately in an emergency situation or with as few as 72 hours after a request is made. These orders are issued without the abuser being present at the court hearing, and the order is temporary.
- 50-B domestic violence protective order (DVPO)—A full hearing is required for the issuance of this type of protective order. A 50-B order applies for up to one year.
To secure either type of protective order, you must convince the court of your need for protection.
A violation of either type of protective order can result in criminal charges. In order to obtain either type of order, you have to show the court why you need protection. An NC domestic violence attorney can stand up for you in court and demonstrate to the court why a protective order is needed in your situation.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can I Protect Myself from Becoming A Domestic Violence Victim?
Knowing what to do if you are confronted with a potentially abusive situation is critical to your efforts to protect yourself from domestic abuse. Abusers often behave in unpredictable ways, with seemingly minor incidents or disputes quickly escalating to violence.
Whether you still live with an abuser or potentially abusive person, or if you have already sought refuge from an abusive environment, it is critical to create a plan of action in case you are confronted with a potentially abusive situation.
Taking out a protective order (commonly referred to as a “restraining order”) is an additional step you may take to protect yourself from an abusive individual. North Carolina courts issue two types of protective orders:
- Ex parte or temporary protective order (TPO) – This type of protective order may be issued immediately in an emergency situation, or within as few as 72 hours after a request is made. These orders are issued without the abuser being present at the hearing, and the order is temporary.
- 50B domestic violence protective order (DVPO) – A full hearing is required for the issuance of this type of protective order, and its duration is much longer – often up to one year.
A violation of either type of protective order can result in criminal sanctions. In order to obtain either type of order, you have to show the court why you need protection. An attorney can help you fulfill this requirement.
What are the effects of domestic violence, mentally and physically?
Domestic violence harms victims in many ways. Some of the most common effects of domestic violence include:
- Physical injury, such as bruises, sprains, fractures, and broken bones
- Chronic fatigue
- Tremors and always feeling “on edge”
- Sleep problems
- Sexual dysfunction
- Depression and anxiety
- Low self-esteem
- Addiction to drugs or alcohol
How can I get a protective order from my abusive partner in North Carolina?
A North Carolina domestic violence protective order – also called a “DVPO” or “50B order” – can be obtained by doing the following:
- File the DVPO paperwork in the civil clerk’s office.
- A short hearing will be held between you and the judge. If the judge feels that you are suffering from domestic abuse, a temporary domestic violence protection order will be issued. A future hearing will be scheduled to determine if a long-term order should be granted.
- At the next hearing, which will require both you and the alleged abuser to attend, the court will make a decision about granting a permanent restraining order. If a long-term order is granted, it will likely be valid for one year, but it can be renewed.
Am I safe if I accuse my partner of domestic violence in North Carolina?
Victims of abuse are protected by North Carolina domestic violence laws. While the law doesn’t always prevent abusers from retaliating, there are many ways victims of domestic violence in North Carolina can protect themselves:
- Those in danger of immediate harm can file a petition for a temporary domestic violence protection order. Temporary orders can be approved within a few days of filing a petition.
- After obtaining a temporary domestic violence protection order, victims can request a long-term protective order at a later hearing. This prohibits the abuser from continuing to stalk, harass, or abuse the victim for up to a year.
- There is an Address Confidentiality Program available for victims of domestic violence in North Carolina. This helps victims conceal their address for added protection from abusers.
- If a victim’s living situation is unsafe and they have nowhere to go, victims can stay at domestic violence shelters in North Carolina.
How does domestic violence affect children?
Children who are victims of domestic violence (physical or emotional) suffer in many ways, even if they are just witnessing the abuse between their parents.
During childhood, children may be withdrawn and unable to form lasting friendships. They may also act out and have behavioral problems at school. During adolescence, these problems often get worse, causing the child to develop eating disorders or drug addiction. They may engage in risky or self-destructive behavior.
Unfortunately, these problems rarely go away in adulthood without therapy. Adults who witnessed or suffered from domestic violence as children sometimes repeat the abuse cycle against others. Or, they get involved in abusive relationships.
What are some common signs of domestic violence?
Domestic abuse happens to people from all walks of life, professions, and backgrounds. Knowing how to recognize the signs of domestic violence in victims can help your friends or loved ones get the protection they need.
Here are some of the most common warning signs of domestic violence:
- The victim becomes withdrawn and gradually sees his or her friends less and less. Abusers often use social isolation to control their victims and erode their self-esteem.
- The abuser frequently berates, criticizes, or humiliates the victim in front of others.
- The abuser often minimizes the victim’s accomplishments.
- The abuser treats the victim as more of a sex object than a person.
- The abuser destroys the victim’s belongings or takes them away.
- The abuser limits the victim’s access to money or a car.
- The victim regularly has bruises or other injuries that they quickly dismiss or don’t want to discuss.
Can men be victims of domestic violence?
Yes, men can be victims of domestic violence. It’s estimated that 1 in 4 men have suffered physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner. Unfortunately, men are often reluctant to report domestic violence due to the social stigma and the fear of not being believed.
If you are a man who is being abused, it’s important to know that help is available. Our Raleigh domestic violence attorneys have helped men get the protection they needed to move out of dangerous relationships.
In addition to physical violence, men in abusive relationships often suffer from emotional abuse. Emotional abuse is still abuse, and you have rights under North Carolina domestic violence laws to be free of abuse including intimidation and threats of violence.
Some of the most common types of emotional abuse that men suffer:
- Verbal abuse in private, or humiliation and belittling in front of friends and family.
- Extreme jealousy and accusations of the victim being unfaithful.
- Attempting to control the victim in various ways, such as hiding car keys, taking away medications, and controlling the victim’s spending.
- Threatening to make false allegations or threatening to take away the victim’s children if the abuse is reported.
How can I get help If I’m a victim of domestic violence?
If you’re suffering from domestic violence in North Carolina, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from further harm. A North Carolina domestic violence protective order is the primary method of protecting victims from abuse.
If you believe you or your child is in danger of immediate harm, you can file a petition for a temporary domestic violence protection order. The judge can grant a temporary protective order for emergency purposes without the defendant being notified in advance of the hearing. A temporary domestic violence protection order can be made within just 72 hours after filing the petition.
When the emergency order is granted, the judge will schedule a future hearing with you and the alleged abuser (“defendant”) so that a long-term order can be considered. If the judge feels that the defendant did commit domestic violence against you, then the judge will issue a long-term protective order. They are typically valid for one year but can be renewed.
A North Carolina domestic violence protective order can do the following:
- Prohibit the abuser from committing further acts of abuse, harassment, or stalking.
- Order the abuser to stay away from the victim’s workplace or home.
- Grant the victim possession of the home or require the abuser to provide alternate housing for the victim and any minor children involved.
- Order temporary child custody and visitation arrangements.
- Temporarily prohibit the abuser from buying a gun.
- Require the abuser to attend counseling programs for domestic violence.
- Any other restrictions that the court deems necessary to protect the victim and any minor children.
The caring legal team at Charles R. Ullman & Associates can review your situation and discuss whether a protective order is appropriate. Contact us at (919) 336-0870 to meet with one of our Raleigh domestic violence attorneys to schedule a consultation.
Do I have to report domestic violence?
People in certain occupations are required by law to report suspected domestic violence. Doctors, other healthcare professionals, teachers, and day care workers are required to report suspected domestic violence. People in these professions should familiarize themselves with the signs of domestic violence in victims.
Whether or not you are legally required to report domestic abuse, you should encourage a friend or loved one to speak to a domestic violence attorney if you suspect that he or she is a victim of domestic violence or in an abusive relationship.
At Charles Ullman & Associates, an experienced domestic violence victim attorney can help you seek a domestic violence protection order if needed and help you locate a domestic violence shelter and other services.
What is considered domestic violence in North Carolina?
Under North Carolina domestic violence laws, domestic violence is defined as abuse or acts of violence between two people who share a personal relationship.
When thinking about what constitutes domestic violence, it’s important to recognize that domestic violence laws don’t only apply to married couples.
In addition to spouses, domestic violence can occur between:
- Parents (or guardians) and their children
- Grandparents and their grandchildren
- Two people who live together
- Opposite-sex couples who are dating
- Two people who have a child together
The following acts of abuse are considered to be domestic violence in North Carolina:
- Intentionally causing physical injury or attempting to cause physical injury.
- Keeping the abused person or a member of the abused person’s family in a state of fear with threats of injury or continued harassment.
- Committing sexual assault, rape, or other sex-related crimes on the abused person.
Contact a Raleigh Domestic Violence Victim Attorney
If you are a domestic violence victim—or fear that you are at risk —it is important for you to know that help is available and that the law is on your side. The compassionate attorneys at Charles R. Ullman & Associates are here to help you. We assist domestic violence victims throughout Wake County from our offices in Raleigh.
Please contact us online or call us toll-free if you would like to schedule a consultation. You may also learn more about domestic violence from our helpful resources here if you are a victim or want to help a victim.