For many, domestic violence brings to mind images of a woman with bruises and black eyes. While this is certainly one face of domestic violence, there are others. Some of them – more than you may think – are men.
More than 1 in 4 men will be victims of intimate partner abuse during their lifetimes, according to a Centers for Disease Control survey.
Getting help in a domestic violence situation can be frightening and it can be humiliating. As an attorney who has worked in this specialized field of law for nearly a decade, I’ve found that embarrassment can be especially intense for male survivors.
If you’re a man experiencing intimate partner abuse, know that there are attorneys who are sensitive to your circumstances and will listen to you. Additionally, the law is here to protect ALL survivors of domestic violence – male and female alike.
Nebraska Criminal Domestic Assault Statutes are Gender Neutral.
Nebraska law recognizes domestic assault as a separate crime from other forms of assault. Additionally, the language of the statute does not require that there be an actual physical injury for a domestic assault to have happened. In certain situations, threats can be enough.
This law is drafted the way it is in recognition of the fact that domestic abuse takes many different forms – from threats and intimidation to physical assault with weapons or dangerous instruments that causes bodily injury.
Nebraska Family Law Statues Recognize the Issue of Domestic Abuse for Men and Women Alike.
Nebraska Family Law Statues include the Protection from Domestic Abuse Act. The Act protects all victims of domestic violence and is intended to provide services to lessen and reduce the trauma of domestic abuse for victims and perpetrators.
As its name indicates, the Protection from Domestic Abuse Act also provides protection from domestic abuse in the form of protection orders and penalties for violating them.
Domestic abuse protection orders can prohibit an abuser from threatening, restraining, assaulting, molesting, attacking or otherwise disturbing the peace of his or her victim. The orders can also forbid phone calls and all forms of contact, remove an abuser from the place where the victim lives and provide for temporary custody of children among other things.
You May be Able to Get an Emergency Protection Order.
A traditional protection order requires that the alleged perpetrator of the acts against which the victim needs protection be given notice and the opportunity to appear at a hearing to defend themselves against the proposed order. However, the Protection from Domestic Abuse Act allows for emergency protection orders where the victim can show they are in immediate danger of abuse before the matter can be heard after notice to the alleged abuser.
These emergency hearings, during which only one party is present, are called “ex-parte” hearings. If the court refuses to issue a temporary, ex-parte emergency protection order, it will schedule a hearing where evidence will be presented. If the alleged abuser doesn’t show up for that hearing or shows up and fails to convince the court, the court will issue the protection order.
If the court agrees to enter a temporary protection order, the order will remain in effect while the court gives the alleged abuser time to be served with the order and to appear and defend themselves against the protection order continuing.
Once the alleged abuser is served with the ex-parte protection order, it can go several ways:
- If the alleged abuser is served with the protection order, but doesn’t contact the court to request a hearing within 5 days of being served, the temporary order becomes a final order for one year.
- If the alleged abuser does request a hearing within 5 days of being served, but doesn’t show up for the hearing, the order also becomes final for one year.
- If the alleged abuser requests the hearing within the required time period, and then shows up for the hearing, the court will hear evidence from both sides and decide if the protection order should stand.
When Children are Involved in Domestic Violence.
Along with recognizing that men are sometimes the victims of domestic violence, Nebraska law also recognizes that children exposed to that domestic violence are affected – regardless of who is the victim and who is the abuser. The law says that both parents are responsible for protecting children from the physicaland psychological trauma of domestic violence. This means getting the children out
Parents who fail to keep their children out of harm’s way when it comes to domestic violence may have the children removed from their custody. This could mean the children are placed in foster care – with strangers or with a relative. Whether you are mom or dad, if you are a victim of domestic violence and your kids are exposed to it, you are putting your children and your parental rights at risk.
Protecting the Children When you Leave.
Regardless of your gender, you need to take steps to protect your children when you leave a domestic violence situation. That means getting protective orders and custody orders in place. An attorney who knows the ins and outs of the legal and safety issues involved is an important support.
The Nebraska Parenting Act has special provisions for developing Parenting Plans in custody cases involving domestic violence. In all custody cases, specially trained mediators are required to screen for domestic violence. If they determine that domestic violence is an issue, they may find that mediation isn’t appropriate, or that another form of specialized dispute resolution is advisable during which a parenting plan with appropriate protections can be developed and agreed upon by both parties.
If mediation is not an option, or not successful, and the court is required to develop a parenting plan in a domestic abuse case, it will include provisions designed to protect the children or the child’s parent from harm.
Don’t Go It Alone.
Hightower Reff has a team of attorneys experienced in the specialized issues and procedures that come with domestic abuse cases. From the criminal end to protection orders and family law and custody issues, we can help. One of our lawyers would be glad to meet with you to talk about how we can help with your case.
Call the office at 402-932-9550, or contact us online and make an appointment to come visit with us about your case during an initial consultation. Don’t go it alone.
This article should not be construed as legal advice. Situations are different and it’s impossible to provide legal advice for every situation without knowing the individual facts.