Domestic violence is a serious issue in today’s society.  As of 2012’s National Census of Domestic Violence Services, Oregon’s Domestic Violence programs served 1,176 victims in one day. Further, 279 requests were unable to be met for the same measured period of one day. While the pressures placed on Oregon victims and survivors of domestic violence can be overwhelming, there are available options for help and support.

Under Oregon Law, if a family or household member has been a victim of abuse, they can petition the court for a Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA) restraining order. Abuse is a wide category that encompasses actions, cause, or attempting to cause bodily injury and intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly placing a person in fear of imminent bodily injury. The restraining order can order the abuser to make no further contact with you and your children and provide a buffer with immediate consequences if violated.

To obtain a restraining order against a party, they mustn’t have been your spouse. You can obtain a FAPA restraining order against: an adult related to you by blood, marriage or adoption; or a partner you are living with or have lived with; or a person with whom you have been in a sexually intimate relationship within the past two years; or the other parent of your minor child or children.

The value of the restraining order can be immense.  The order, once obtained, will stop the abuser from intimidating and interfering with your family and self. If you and the abuser cohabitate, it will require them to move out. The abuser will be ordered to stay away from your home, job, business, and school. Further aid, such as requirements to have no guns, can be imposed.

If you are suffering from abuse, you can get help. Contacting an attorney can be the first step; however, the forms to fill out to begin the FAPA process are freely available at http://courts.oregon.gov/OJD/OSCA/JFCPD/Pages/FLP/Protective-Orders.aspx

Relief is available if you can take the first step.Young Woman, Portrait, Croatia