Lis and the Single Girl: Domestic Violence — How to Stay Safe in Your Own Home

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Single and fabulous? Well then this is the column for you!

Ever wish you had your own personal Carrie Bradshaw to answer your questions — not just about what to do if your boyfriend dumps you via text message — but serious issues that confront us? This special daily edition of “Lis on Law” will address topics that single women are faced and that everybody wonders about — but no one has time to figure out.

Between work, working out, dating and maintaining a social life, it’s tough to find time to do much else. So, read up and prepare to be fully armed for brunch this weekend with your friends with some super conversation topics! Your pals will be amazed!

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My boyfriend gets violent when he’s drunk. I want him out of my house, but he won’t leave. What can I do?

When you think about the most dangerous place in America for a woman, what comes to mind? Mall parking lots? Dark alleys? Seedy neighborhoods? No, no and no. You might be surprised to learn that the most dangerous place for a woman is actually her home. Domestic violence is the single biggest threat of injury to U.S. women — more than heart attacks, cancer, muggings, rape and car accidents combined!

Until about 10 years ago, many states still had laws that required an officer to actually witness an assault before making an arrest. Today, in most states, if abuse is obvious, the abuser is taken to jail and the victim can file for a protective order. If there’s an “immediate and present” danger, the officer may be able to issue an Emergency Protective Order on the spot.

Protective orders (also known as restraining orders or temporary protection orders) are issued by the court according to state law and are a civil action (not criminal) ordering the abuser to stay away from you, your home, your workplace, your child’s school and to not contact you. Most states have “cease abuse” provisions, as well as “no contact” provisions, allowing the victim to decide if any contact (telephone, fax, e-mail or even delivery of flowers) is allowed. Protective orders are often the first official legal intervention in domestic abuse cases.

How much weight does a protective order actually hold? Let’s be honest, you’re armed with just a piece of paper. It doesn’t come with a set of handcuffs. However, violations of the order can be addressed through both criminal and civil action. In civil court, the defendant who violates a protective order can be thrown back into court on a charge of contempt. In addition, violation can also lead to an arrest in some cases, and if found guilty, the defendant can be hauled off to jail.

The best way to have your protection order enforced: make sure you create a seamless network between your community, family and law enforcement. If others know that you’re looking to keep your boyfriend away, they’re more likely to keep an eye out for suspicious activity. Let’s make sure a woman’s home is the safest place for her — it’s a matter of life and death.

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• What is a protective order?

• Protective Orders Frequently Asked Questions

• Domestic Violence Protective Orders

* Disclaimer

The information contained in this Web site feature entitled “LIS ON LAW,” is provided as a service to visitors of, and does not constitute legal advice or establish an attorney client relationship. FOX NEWS NETWORK, LLC makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this web site feature and its associated sites. Nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of your own counsel.

• E-mail Lis With Your Legal Questions!

Lis Wiehl joined FOX News Channel as a legal analyst in October 2001. She is currently a professor of law at the New York Law School. Wiehl received her undergraduate degree from Barnard College in 1983 and received her Master of Arts in Literature from the University of Queensland in 1985. In addition, she earned her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1987. Lis is also the author of The 51% Minority — How Women Still Are Not Equal and What You Can Do About It. (Watch the Video) To read the rest of Lis's bio, click here.