Stalked? Restraining Orders, Peace Bonds, Courts

Uploaded 11/4/2010, approx. 5 minute read

I am Sam Vaknin. I am the author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited.

You are a victim of abuse. You are being abused repeatedly and frequently. Should you get the courts involved in your situation?

If you want the nightmare to end, there is a rule of thumb which requires courage and determination to implement. Involve the courts whenever possible.

In many countries, the first step is to obtain a restraining order from a civil court, as part of your divorce or custody proceedings, or as a stand-alone measure. In some countries, the police apply to the court for an emergency protection order on your behalf.

The difference between a protection order and a restraining order is that the protection order is obtained following an incident of domestic violence involving injury or damage to property. It is available immediately. It is granted at the police's request, and it is issued even outside court hours.

Many restraining orders are granted ex parte without the knowledge or presence of your abusive partner, based solely on a signed and sworn affidavit submitted by you. A typical emergency restraining order forbids the offender from visiting certain locations, such as the children's school, your workplace or your home. It is later reviewed.

At the review, you should produce evidence of the abuse and witnesses. If the emergency or temporary order is upheld, it is fixed for a period of time at the judge's discretion.

Always carry the restraining order with you, and leave copies of the order at your place of employment and at your children's daycare and schools. You will have to show the restraining order to the police if you want to get your abuser arrested when he violates its terms. Breach of a restraining order is a criminal offense.

The wording of the restraining order is not uniform, and it is crucial. The police shall arrest is not the same as the police may arrest the offender.

So make sure that your restraining order is phrased properly. The police shall arrest the offender if he ignores the conditions set forth in the order.

Don't forget to ask the court to forbid your abuser to contact you by phone and other electronic means.

Seek a new restraining order if you had moved and your place of residence or your workplace or the children's daycare or schools have changed.

If the abuser has visitation rights with the children, these should be specified in the restraining order. Include a provision in the order, allowing you to deny the visit if he is intoxicated.

The order can be issued against your abuser's family and friends as well, especially if they harass and stalk you.

A restraining order is not a substitute for taking precautionary measures to safeguard yourself and your children.

Abusers often ignore the court's strictures. They taunt you all the same. They find ways.

The situation can easily escalate and get out of hand. Be prepared for such unpleasant and dangerous eventualities.

Avoid empty and unlit areas. Carry relevant emergency numbers with you at all times. Install a personalized alarm system. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes to allow you to run if you are attacked. Trust your senses. If you feel that you are being followed, go to a public place, restaurant, department store, cinema.

Learn by rote the transit routes of all public transport around your home and workplace and make special arrangements with a cab operator nearest to you.

You may also wish to consider buying a weapon or at least a mace spray can.

If you are physically or sexually assaulted or if you are being stalked or harassed, keep records of all the incidents and lists of witnesses.

Never hesitate to lay charges against your abuser, his family and friends. See your charges through by testifying against your offenders.

Try not to withdraw the charges even if you worked out your problems, even if you are afraid.

Abusers learn the hard way and a spell in jail or even a fine is likely to guarantee your future safety.

Based on a criminal police file, the criminal court can also force your abuser and his family and friends if they have been harassing you to sign a peace bond in the presence of a judge. A peace bond is a pledge of good behavior, often requiring your abuser to stay away from your home and place of work for a period of anywhere between 3 and 12 months.

Some peace bonds forbid the abuser from carrying weapons.

Have the peace bond with you at all times. Leave copies of the peace bond at your children's daycare and school centers and at your place of employment. You will have to show the peace bond to the police if you want to get your abuser arrested when he violates the terms of the peace bond. Breach of a peace bond is a criminal offense.

Do not meet your abuser or speak to him while the restraining order or the peace bond are in effect. The courts are likely to take a very dim view of the fact that you yourself have violated the terms of these instruments of law issued for your protection and at your request.

There are many additional remedies the courts can and do provide and apply. They can force your abusive partner to surrender to your household items and clothing, to grant you access to bank accounts and credit cards, to defray some costs, to pay alimony and child support, to submit to psychological counseling and evaluation, and to grant the police access to his home and workplace at all times.

Consult your family or divorce attorney as to what can and is desirable to be done.

In theory, the courts are the victim's friends. The truth, however, is a lot more nuanced.

If you are not represented, your chances to get protection and prevail, in other words, to have your day in court, they are very slim.

The courts also show some institutional bias in favor of the abuser. I discuss this elsewhere in another video.

Yet, despite these hurdles, there is no substitute to getting the legal system to weigh in and restrain your abuser.

Use the legal system wisely and you will not regret it.

I deal with two particular court-related situations, custody and giving testimony in two separate videos. Be sure to watch the entire series. It contains well over 40 videos and will be released in the next few weeks. I wish you luck.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like the following:

Stalker Psychology

Stalking is a form of abuse that continues long after a relationship has ended, with the majority of abusers getting the message. However, a minority of abusers, the more vindictive and obsessed ones, continue to stalk their ex-partners for years to come. These stalkers are typically lonely, violent, and intermittently unemployed, but they are rarely full-fledged criminals. Contrary to myths perpetrated by the mass media, studies show that most stalkers are men, have high IQs, advanced degrees, and are middle-aged.

Body Language of Narcissistic and Psychopathic Abuser

Abusers emit subtle signals in their body language that can be observed and discerned. They adopt a posture of superiority and entitlement, and they idealize or devalue their interlocutors. Abusers are shallow and prefer show-off to substance, and they are serious about themselves. They lack empathy, are sadistic, and have inappropriate affect. They are adept at casting a veil of secrecy over their dysfunction and misbehavior, and they succeed in deceiving the entire world.

Stalked: Get Help

Victims of abuse should seek help from family, friends, and colleagues. However, the legal system may not be effective in dealing with stalking and domestic violence. Victims should document the abuse and report it to the police and building security. They should also hire a security expert if the threat is credible or imminent and rely on professional advice from attorneys, accountants, private detectives, and therapists. Joining support groups and organizations for victims of abuse and stalking can also be validating and empowering.

Abuse By Proxy

Abusers often use third parties to control, coerce, threaten, stalk, tempt, seduce, harass, communicate, or manipulate their targets. They use the same mechanisms and devices to control these unaware instruments as they plan to control their ultimate prey. The abuser perverts the system, and therapists, marriage counselors, mediators, court-appointed guardians, police officers, and judges end up upholding the abuser's version and helping him further abuse his victims. The victim's children are the abuser's greatest source of leverage over his abused spouse or mate.

Stalked? Call Police and Law Enforcement!

The rule of thumb for dealing with an abusive partner is to involve the police and law enforcement authorities whenever possible. Physical assault, rape, stalking, marital rape, and cruelty to animals are all criminal offenses that should be reported to the police. Financial abuse is also a criminal offense, and the police must respond to complaints. The police officer on the scene must inform the victim of their legal options and rights, and the officer in charge must furnish them with a list of domestic violence shelters and other forms of help available in their community.

Spot a Narcissist or a Psychopath on Your First Date

There are warning signs to identify abusers and narcissists early on in a relationship. One of the first signs is the abuser's tendency to blame others for their mistakes and failures. Other signs include hypersensitivity, eagerness to commit, controlling behavior, patronizing and condescending manner, and devaluing the partner. Abusers may also idealize their partner, have sadistic sexual fantasies, and switch between abusive and loving behavior. Paying attention to body language can also reveal warning signs.

Coping Styles: Narcissist Abuses "Loved" Ones Despite Abandonment Anxiety

Narcissists abuse their loved ones to decrease their abandonment anxiety, restore their sense of grandiosity, and test their partner's loyalty. Abuse also serves as a form of behavior modification, as it signals to the partner that they need to modify their behavior to avoid abuse. Coping styles for dealing with abuse include submissiveness, conflicting, mirroring, collusion, and displacement, but some of these styles can be harmful and should be avoided.

Abusive Ex: Tell Your Children the Truth!

Parents who have been victims of abuse should not attempt to present a balanced picture of their relationship with their abusive ex-spouse to their children. Children have a right to know the truth about the overall state of affairs between their parents, and both parents have a moral obligation to tell their offspring the truth. If spousal abuse is wholly or partly to blame, it should be brought out into the open and discussed honestly with the children. The child should be brought up to insist on being respected by the other parent, on having him or her observe the child's boundaries and accept the child's needs and emotions, choices and preferences.

DANGER: Paranoid Ex

To minimize the danger of a paranoid ex, it is important to put physical distance between yourself and them, change contact details, and not inform them of your whereabouts. It is also important to be prepared for violence and to alert law enforcement officers, check out domestic violence shelters, and consider owning a self-defense weapon. Paying attention to unusual patterns and events can help identify if a paranoid ex is monitoring you. It is important to teach children to avoid the ex and report any contact. Appeasing the ex is futile, and it is important to use the law to obtain restraining orders and ensure they spend time in jail.

The Shock of Abuse

Abusers are skilled at hiding their abusive behavior from the rest of the world, often with the help of their victims. A study of 30 women who survived attempted homicide by their intimate partners found that half of them were completely surprised by the attack, despite having been victims of previous episodes of abuse. Victims often rationalize the abuser's behavior and feel guilty, believing they are to blame for the misconduct. Classic risk factors for attempted homicide by an intimate partner include escalating episodes of violence, threats with or use of weapons, alcohol or drug use, and violence to children.

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