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Domestic violence – which you may also hear in North Carolina referred to as intimate partner violence, relationship abuse, or dating abuse – is defined as “patterns of behavior utilized by one person to maintain control and power over another with whom they are in an intimate relationship.”

Domestic violence can happen to anyone and be perpetrated by anyone, no matter their race, gender, sexuality, education level, economic status, or age. But what types of behaviors constitute domestic violence legally in North Carolina, and what are the potential consequences? Read on to find out more.

What Is Domestic Violence in North Carolina?

If you want to know what types of actions can be considered domestic abuse or domestic violence, then it’s important to understand what the state laws have to say about it. In North Carolina, the law works to define domestic violence as mistreatment between those who share specific personal relationships. These include:

  • Those who are married or have been married
  • Anyone with whom you share a dwelling
  • Children, grandchildren, grandparents, parents, or anyone related to you by blood or marriage
  • Those you have been or are in an intimate relationship with
  • Anyone you share a child with
  • Anyone you are currently dating of the opposite sex

The types of actions taken against one of the above groups, which the state considers to be domestic violence, include:

  • Attempting to cause or intentionally causing bodily injury
  • Placing a person in fear of bodily injury through threats
  • Sexual offenses, such as rape
  • Harassment that causes the victim to be in fear

There are also certain actions taken in a relationship that may indicate abuse is taking place. This includes:

  • Coercing another sexually
  • Being overly possessive or extremely jealous
  • Attempting to control the other through overbearing behavior
  • Placing blame on the victim
  • Resentment toward friends and family members
  • The demand that the victim get permission to participate in certain activities
  • Claims that the victim is not supportive enough of them

Protective Orders

If the police are called, and domestic violence acts are suspected to have taken place, then victims will have the option to get a domestic violence protective order put in place. This is a civil court order that can help to ensure victims stay safe from their alleged abusers. If you are the person named in the protective order, it can make things very difficult.

In cases of protective orders related to domestic violence, there are two different types:

Ex Parte Protective Order

These are temporary protective orders through the court that are meant to provide protection in the immediate aftermath of a domestic violence situation. They usually are done within 72 hours of filing and can last up to 10 days. After that time, they’re expired until a new court hearing takes place.

Protective Orders

Final Protective Order

These types of protective orders can last up to 12 months. They are issued after a full court hearing, in which the person named as the offender in the order will have a chance to defend themselves against accusations. It is possible for protective orders to be extended.

If you are subject to a protective order, it can have an impact on many aspects of your life. It can affect where you live, child custody, and child visitations – and you can be forced to pay attorney fees and child support, as well, if ordered to do so by the court. Violating a protective order is a separate crime, usually a Class A1 misdemeanor.

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