Minnesota residents may be shocked to find out that 1 out of 4 women in the United States is the victim of domestic abuse. Nationally, around 1.3 million women suffer domestic abuse from their partners.

Despite the staggering statistics of domestic abuse, many incidents of domestic abuse remain unreported. Domestic violence is the most unreported crime in the country, according to a University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center study.

Many victims feel too scared or embarrassed to report domestic abuse or seek help, so estimating the actual number of domestic abuse incidents is difficult. Reported incidents have increased in recent years.

Orders for protection are available in some form or another in all 50 states including Minnesota and they can range in effect from forcing an abuser to move out of the victim’s residence to preventing the abuser from approaching a certain distance from the victim. In addition the orders also help establish temporary child custody while a divorce or a criminal proceeding is pursued.

An order for protection is often an important first step to stopping the abuse and seeking help and distance from the abuser. Orders for protection can be filed without the victim attending a hearing themselves, which can often make it easier and slightly less stressful to get the protection that is needed.

An order for protection can also ensure the abuser cannot purchase a firearm. Violation of an order can mean fines and even prison time for the abuser.

Victims of domestic violence should seek police assistance and perhaps also legal assistance when necessary to protect themselves and any children that are affected by the abuse.

Source: Imperial Valley Press, “Domestic violence, a largely unreported crime” Alejandro Davila, Nov. 25, 2012

Our Minnesota law firm helps victims of domestic abuse file orders for protection. More information is available on our website.