Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Lawyer - COVID-19 | Burns Attorneys

Resources for Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Victims During COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place Orders

Get Immediate Help From a Domestic Abuse Lawyer Los Angeles

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc across America. It has taken lives, destroyed the economy, and put many vulnerable people even more at risk of illness and death. It has also increased the power that abusive people have over their victims. Before the virus struck, domestic abuse victims could find refuge at work or with family and friends. Now that so many of those same victims are without jobs and cannot go to family and friends because of local lockdowns and isolation orders they are at the mercy of their abuser.

For victims of domestic abuse, the greatest danger is in their own home. If you have been ordered to stay there, then you are being compelled to risk your safety and your life.

You do not have to go through this ordeal alone. Help is available. Calling a domestic abuse lawyer in Los Angeles can help you get the aid and assistance you need to protect yourself and your children.

Getting Immediate Help

One of the worst things about the pandemic is that it has closed off many avenues of escape and reprieve from domestic violence. Stay-at-home orders give abusers the time and the space they need to carry out their vile and violent practices against partners and their children. Teachers, doctors, day care providers, coaches, and counsellors can no longer report the abuse they know about because they are no longer in contact with children. You cannot escape your own abuse because there is no workplace for you to go to.

Even though the situation seems grim, there is no need to despair. Courts and domestic violence organizations, hotlines, and shelters remain open, and they can provide you with a range of valuable and crucial services and solutions.

Getting a Protection and Restraining Order

If the intimidation, threats, and violence have become too much, if you feel that your life and that of your child is in serious danger, then you may need to take out a restraining order. The question of what do I need to get a restraining order is the first one that will come to your mind. Most judges will provide a temporary restraining order if they are convinced that your safety is at risk. They will then set a date for a hearing in which your abuser will have the opportunity to defend themselves.

Legal professionals that are well-versed in handling domestic violence should be on your side, as they know the law, how these cases are handled, and the kind of proof you will need to get a judgement that is in your favor. If you are asking yourself what to do next for a restraining order or if legal counsel is necessary for a restraining order hearing, then you are probably in a desperate and dangerous situation and need to act fast.

Courts have limited their hours of operation. However, they still take high priority cases, including those related to domestic abuse. Even if the court that handles such cases in your area is closed, judges may hear emergency petitions by phone or video conferencing. Judges across the country have set up virtual courtrooms where they can hear restraining orders and child protection cases. Your attorney will provide you the resources necessary to conduct such a conference. In fact, it is better if you go to their office to participate in such a videoconference, to offer you the best chance at winning.

Your attorney will also inform you of the many rule changes and modifications that courts have put in place to accommodate those seeking justice during the pandemic. California emergency court rules include the extension of the expiration date of protective orders issued during the state of emergency.

You can also find information at court self-help websites. Your local police department, county services office, and prosecutor’s office may also have resources and information that can help you.

In an Emergency

You never know when your abuser will strike. Some abusers will come after you even if there is a restraining order against them. Some abusers do not care about child protective orders and believe they have a right to see, and further abuse, their children. If you find yourself in such a situation, you should call the police. Emergency 911 services are still available.

If there is a stay-at-home order in place where you live, there will be exceptions for those at risk of domestic violence. If you are targeted by an abuser, you are allowed and urged to leave your home and relocate to a safe place. The pandemic has hit domestic violence shelters and organizations hard, but they are working even harder to stay open and provide safety to women and their children. Domestic violence shelters are still taking calls and emails, and you should contact the one nearest you if you need help. These organizations are also developing new strategies to support victims, some of which include online chat and texting services for victims who cannot make a phone call with an abuser at home.

Seize the Initiative

There has been a significant drop in the number of reported child abuse cases. Experts believe that this does not reflect an actual drop in such cases. It is rather an indication that the typical reporting agents of child abuse—teachers, coaches, counselors, etc.—do not have access to vulnerable children, and thus cannot help them.

If you are a parent of a child who is being abused by your partner, it is up to you to report them. If you suspect that a neighbor or someone you know is being abused, you should contact the authorities.

If you are a victim of domestic abuse and your abuse has led to serious injuries, you need not rest with a restraining order. It is possible for you to sue your abuser for damages. A family law attorney in Los Angeles can help you do so and help you get justice.

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