As they mature, your teenager will form relationships with other teens. Whether they were formed in friendship or through dating, on occasion these relationships can turn bad just like in the adult world. Unfortunately, sometimes, the results involve violence.
Domestic violence crimes are as prevalent among teenage relationships as they are in adult relationships. Domestic violence involves crimes of physical assault, sexual assault, threatening, or stalking committed against the offender’s family or household members, or against someone that the offender dated.
My Teen Treated Their Date Like a Jerk – Can They Be Arrested?
No, being a jerk is not the same as engaging in domestic violence.
Verbal abuse – no matter how ugly and upsetting – without a threat of present danger is not domestic violence.
Calling someone multiple curse names does not rise to the level of domestic violence.
Girlfriends and boyfriends yelling at each other during a bad break-up is not domestic violence.
Domestic violence involves physical assault or true threats of immediate danger.
What Are Examples of Domestic Violence?
Connecticut prosecutes five distinct types of domestic violence crimes:
- Assault – physically striking another person;
- Threatening – creating a fear of immediate harm or violence;
- Stalking – obsessive contact that crosses the line to harassment;
- Sexual assault – forced sexual contact; and
- Strangulation – intentional choke hold used on another person.
- Prosecutors and judges take allegations of domestic violence extremely seriously. These crimes can carry lengthy jail terms, and courts will issue a protective order that will restrict contact between the offender and the victim.
If your teenager is the victim of domestic violence, it is important to stop the offender from having continued contact with your teen.
What is a Protective Order?
A protective order is a formal court order entered by a criminal or juvenile court judge to protect the victim of an alleged crime from further contact from the offender. Protective orders follow arrests and accompany criminal or juvenile court charges in domestic violence situations. In domestic violence cases, most judges impose the “full no contact” protective order between the parties.
The protective order remains in effect until the end of the case, or until it is formally modified by the judge. Protective orders can restrict or entirely prohibit contact with the protected party depending upon the restrictions imposed.
Typical protective orders include:
- “Full no contact” orders (the most restrictive);
- “Residential stay-away” orders (middle level restriction); and
- “No threatening or harassing” orders (the least restrictive).
The court’s protective order prohibits both direct and indirect contact with the protected person. No contact means no contact by any means. Indirect contact through friends or social media posts is not allowed.
My Teen Still Wants to See Their Significant Other – Can They?
No. Depending on the judge’s restrictions, there can be no contact while the protective order is in place. Most judges are highly protective in situations of teenage domestic violence, and they are usually reluctant to modify protective orders absent a strong reason.
You need to inform your teenager that only the judge can modify or remove a protective order. Just because the protected party says it is ok to resume contact, does not mean that it is actually allowed. The protected party does not control whether the protective order remains in effect.
For instance, your teenager has been the victim of domestic violence in her dating relationship, and a protective order is in place. Teenage love can be highly emotional, and teenagers often do not appreciate consequences in the moment. If a full no contact protective order is in place, even if your daughter wants to resume contact with her boyfriend, they are prohibited from having any contact until the judge allows them to see each other.
If an offender violates the terms of the protective order, they will be subject to further arrest and prosecution for the additional crimes.
What If There Was No Arrest – Can They Still Be Kept Apart?
Yes, under certain circumstances, a court will restrain contact between individuals.
A restraining order is a formal court order entered by a civil court judge to restrain a person from having contact with certain designated person or persons.
Unlike a protective order, which is imposed automatically by the criminal or juvenile court judge in domestic violence cases, the party that wants the civil restraining order needs to submit a written request to a civil judge.
No arrest is necessary to obtain a civil restraining order. Instead, the party that wants the civil restraining order must provide evidence, usually by a written statement, justifying the need for the civil restraining order. The party must show the civil court judge that they have been the victim of violence against them and/or that they are in fear of imminent harm and/or that they are being threatened or stalked.
Who Can Apply for a Restraining Order?
Civil restraining orders are limited to situations between family and/or household members, or in situations where the moving party is the victim of sexual assault, sexual abuse, or stalking.
Upon reviewing the moving party’s application, the civil judge can do either of the following:
- Issue an immediate restraining order, which remains in effect for two weeks followed by a hearing; or
- Schedule the matter for a contested hearing within two weeks, but not issue any order in the meantime.
At the hearing, the civil judge can either dismiss the civil restraining order application or impose the civil restraining order up to one year.
After the year period expires, the moving party has an opportunity to request further extensions of the civil restraining order.
If an offender violates the terms of the restraining order, they are subject to arrest and prosecution for additional crimes.