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Victims of domestic abuse in Colorado may seek a protection order

Most couples in Colorado will get into arguments sometimes. However, should these arguments turn violent or should abuse be ongoing in a way that threatens a person's safety or the safety of their children, then the victim may need to take legal action to protect themselves.

In Colorado, restraining orders are referred to as "protection orders." A civil protection order will be issued if one person is being threatened or hurt by another person, as may be the case in situations of domestic violence and neglect or abuse. A protection order restricts the perpetrator from hurting the victim or coming within a certain distance of the victim. Any victim of domestic violence or those who are afraid they will be personally harmed can seek a protection order. Children in danger may also be protected through a protection order even if the perpetrator is not the child's parent.

There are some benefits to a protection order. They provide the victims with quick relief (usually within the day the victim files for protection), are relatively easy to obtain and provide personal protection. Beyond protecting a victim from physical harm, the perpetrator may also have to leave the victim's home, stay a certain distance away from the victim (as well as the victim's home and workplace) and can give the victim temporary care of any children they have with the perpetrator.

However, it is important to keep in mind that a civil protection order is just that -- civil -- and the perpetrator will not be imprisoned just because a civil protection order is obtained. Any crimes that may have been committed in the acts that led the victim to seek the protection order should be reported to police. It is up to the police, then, to determine if the perpetrator should be arrested.

Sometimes it can be very hard for victims of domestic abuse to seek help. Their abuser may threaten their safety if they try to seek help or they may even limit the victim's ability to leave the house, contact people or spend money. Still, if a victim of domestic violence is able to receive a protection order against the perpetrator, that order may give the victim the time and space he or she needs to safely leave the abusive relationship.

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