Domestic violence is a devastating form of abuse that occurs between two people who share some form of close or intimate personal relationship. Acts of domestic violence are among the most underreported crimes. Statistically, 1 in 4 women will experience some form of domestic abuse in her life. However, only 25 percent of all assault cases are reported each year.
If you’ve experienced domestic violence, it is very important to contact a North Carolina domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible to help protect yourself from future harm.
The Raleigh domestic violence attorneys of Charles R. Ullman & Associates have experience with helping victims of domestic violence. We can explain your rights and the steps you can take, including a protective order, to keep you and your family safe. We’ve helped numerous Wake County residents, including clients in Raleigh and Cary.
Wake County Domestic Violence Lawyers at Charles R. Ullman & Associates
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. These laws provide fast and effective relief for victims of domestic violence abuse. Contact a domestic violence attorney in Raleigh if you’ve experienced any of the above kinds of abuse.
The most common form of domestic violence is violence against women, which is all too prevalent in the United States. Approximately 1.3 million U.S. women are assaulted by an intimate partner each year, according to the American Bar Association’s Commission on Domestic Violence. Spousal abuse is included in this statistic. Spousal abuse occurs when the person who is being abused is married to their abuser. Domestic violence also involves the abuse of children, which can occur in any household. Studies have not found differences in the prevalence of child abuse among different social classes or races.
If you are or have been a victim of domestic violence, call our Wake County domestic violence lawyers at Charles R. Ullman & Associates to find out how we might be able to help you.
What Qualifies as Domestic Violence in North Carolina?
According to North Carolina law, the following acts are considered domestic violence:
- Attempting to or intentionally causing bodily injury
- Placing someone in fear of imminent serious bodily injury
- Committing rape or a sexual offense as defined by NC law
- Placing someone in fear of continued harassment
Domestic violence comes in many forms. Examples of types of behavior that may indicate a risk of domestic violence include:
- Sexual abuse, including forcing you to engage in unwanted, unsafe or degrading sexual activity.
- Jealousy, such as being overly possessive and resentful of time spent with friends, family and work colleagues.
- Control, including needing to know where you are at all times and requiring you to get “permission” to make your own decisions or go where you want to go when you want to go there.
- Verbal abuse, including insults and degrading remarks made in private or in front of others.
- Blaming you for the abuser’s problems, such as claiming that you are not supportive enough or that you or others are out to get them.
How to Protect Yourself from Domestic Violence
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 the protection. An attorney can help you fulfill this requirement.
How an Attorney Can Help You Secure Protection from Domestic Violence
In addition to helping you secure a protective order, a qualified North Carolina domestic violence attorney can also help you get the help you need from resources available in the community. This could include, for example, seeking refuge at a local women’s shelter or crisis center, securing assistance from counselors and mental health professionals and working with law enforcement to protect your rights.
An attorney can also assist you with legal issues such as beginning the divorce process, dealing with child custody and child support issues, and seeking alimony payments, among others.
If you are a domestic violence victim – or fear that you are at risk of domestic violence – it is important for you to know that help is available and that the law is on your side. The caring attorneys at Charles R. Ullman & Associates are here for you. We assist domestic violence victims throughout Wake County from our offices in Raleigh.