For millions of women and men, “Stay at Home” orders may feel more like they are “Trapped at Home” than “Safe at Home.”

Domestic violence can take many forms including physical, verbal, emotional, psychological, financial abuse and coercive control. We think of domestic abuse as the more extreme behaviors such as physical violence. But in many cases, the behaviors are more subtle and may not be seen by the victim as “abuse”.

Increased stress from the COVID-19 pandemic and stay at home orders may have amplified behaviors that before the pandemic had been, at worst, considered toxic. Isolation and fewer opportunities to get away from a partner can leave victims feeling helpless. These situations can quickly escalate. If you or someone you know feels scared, controlled or threatened by a partner, it is important to seek help.

Don’t wait! Help is available!

In addition to local and national help hotlines and shelters, Virginia courts are promptly hearing cases for, and issuing, preliminary protective orders in emergencies to help you stay safe.

An emergency protective order (or a preliminary protective order) is a temporary order, issued by a judge, to protect anyone who may be a victim of threats, stalking, violence or abuse.

What You Need to Know About Protective Orders

  • Can be initially issued based only on the victim’s report.
  • Are initially issued for short periods of time but may be extended for up to two (2) years.
  • Can address physical, verbal, emotional, psychological, and financial safety.
  • Can offer protection for the victim and/or their children and pets.

How A Protective Order Can Help

Protective Orders can include a wide range of protections depending on your needs. They can restrict the following:

  • physical contact,
  • written and verbal communications, including passing messages through friends and family, or
  • can simply serve as a warning or reminder for the abuser to not engage in acts of violence.

If you rely on an abusive partner for household or living expenses, a protective order, can also provide for/protect your access to:

  • safe housing,
  • utilities,
  • cell service,
  • access to a vehicle,
  • privacy,
  • and any other relief necessary for your protection.

If you feel threatened or scared, don’t wait to seek help! A protective order can help you stay safe and our experienced team of attorneys can help you get the immediate protections you need.

Also, the Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-838-8238 is a toll free call.

Blog written by Attorney Jamie Allgood