Orders of protection, also known as restraining orders, are a crucial tool used in New York’s Family Court to protect individuals and families from domestic violence, abuse, neglect, and other forms of harm. These legal documents have a significant impact on the safety and well-being of individuals and children involved in family disputes, and can also affect a range of other areas including custody, visitation, support, financial stability, housing, employment, education, mental health, physical health, substance abuse, and child welfare. In this article, we will examine the outcomes of orders of protection issued by the New York Family Court, and analyze the impact they have on families and children.
Data On Outcomes Of Filing Petitions Seeking Orders Of Protection
The New York Family Court handles a large number of petitions for orders of protection each year, with data from the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence indicating that approximately 183,000 petitions were filed in 2021. A significant proportion of these petitions resulted in temporary orders of protection being issued, with an estimated 75% of cases resulting in temporary relief. This temporary relief can provide a crucial safety net for those in need, with a full hearing later determining whether a final order of protection should be granted.
Final orders of protection are issued in approximately 50% of cases, with a significant proportion lasting for one year or less (45%), two years (30%), or five years (25%). These orders have a far-reaching impact, as they can serve as a deterrent to those who engage in abusive or harassing behavior, and can provide a quicker and more efficient means of holding individuals accountable for their actions.
Types Of Orders That The Family Court Can Issue
The Family Court has the power to issue a wide range of temporary or final orders. The Respondent can be ordered to stay away from the petitioner, the petitioner’s family, children, home, school, workplace, or house of worship. The Respondent can be ordered to surrender any and all firearms. Although rarely used, the respondent can be required to take a batterer’s program.
Impacts On Respondents
Orders of protection can have significant negative consequences on respondents. Firstly, the restrictions placed on the respondent can affect his or her relationship with the respondent’s child or children, and can impact the court’s decisions on issues of custody and visitation. In New York State, courts are actually required by statute to take proven incidents of domestic violence into consideration when making custody or visitation orders.
Secondly, once the Family Court has issued an order of protection, whether temporary or final, while the order of protection is in effect, the Respondent is subject to enhanced criminal penalties for certain violations which can result in felony convictions which include jail time of up to 7 years incarceration, depending on the nature of the violation.
Thirdly, because courts, law enforcement agencies, and departments of probation have access to the domestic violence registry, Having outstanding orders of protection or even past orders of protection can affect employment and employment opportunities in the law enforcement, field. Although access to the registry is supposed to be limited, there have been instances of other employers or possible employers have somehow obtained access to information in the registry.
Finally, for respondents who are not US citizens, orders of protection which contain factual findings of domestic violence, can have severe impact on immigrations status, including loss of immigration benefits, and, in some cases, deportation.
Limitations On Actual Protection.
However, orders of protection are not without their limitations. In some cases, the person named in the order may not be located or may refuse to comply, making enforcement difficult. It is also important to note that orders of protection may not always provide adequate protection in all situations, particularly when the person named in the order poses a significant threat.
If the respondent presents a serious danger to the petitioner, the petitioner should consider relocating to a confidential address or even to a confidential domestic violence shelter.
Despite these limitations, orders of protection play a critical role in ensuring the safety, well-being, and stability of individuals and families affected by domestic violence, abuse, neglect, and other forms of harm. They can have a positive impact on the lives of those they are meant to protect, and can help to address a wide range of other issues, including custody and visitation, support, financial stability, housing, employment, education, mental health, physical health, substance abuse, and child welfare.
In conclusion, it is essential for individuals who are considering obtaining an order of protection in New York’s Family Court to understand the potential outcomes and impacts of this process. Working closely with local domestic violence organizations or attorneys can help to ensure that the best course of action is taken to protect the safety, well-being, and stability of individuals and families.
- New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. (2021). Orders of Protection in New York State. https://www.opdv.ny.gov/help/orders-of-protection/orders-of-protection-in-new-york-state
- New York State Unified Court System. (2021). Family Court. https://www.nycourts.gov/courts/family/index.shtml