The usual way to fight occurrences of physical violence, verbal violence and harassment, between a couple too, is by filing a complaint at the police. This being said, there is another way, which might not necessarily promise security and peace of mind but can certainly help to aid and protect you. This way is called “a restraining order “. What is a restraining order? What does the law say regarding restraining orders when it comes to a couple? Read on to find out.

What does the law state regarding restraining orders?

In Israel there are two laws that regulate issuing restraining orders. The first law is the “law of prevention of stalking” 5762-2001 and the second is the “law to prevent violence in the family” 5751-1991.

The first law is a general law, meant for all. The second law – prevention of violence – is a specific law relating to case of violence in the family (not necessarily couples). In some ways, the two laws are similar. Below I will discuss each one of them.

What is stalking?

Article 2 of the “Law for the Prevention of Stalking “states that stalking is any behavior that can bother a person. For example, monitoring or surveillance, threatening, disturbing and often contact, damage to property or the name of a person and violation of the freedom of movement he/she is entitled to. An example of stalking is between two neighbors, one of whom harasses the other on a regular basis, threatens him or curses him, in a way that obstructs other neighbor’s peace of life.

Article 4 of the law states that in cases of stalking, the harassed person may apply to the Court for a restraining order for the person bothering him. The court will not grant the request automatically, only after hearing the parties and coming to the conclusion that there is a threat of stalking, will the request be granted.

If the court issued a restraining order to prevent stalking, then the order may contain provisions designed to prevent the stalker approaching the stalkee, threatening and harassing him/her in any other way. Violation of a restraining order is a criminal offense. In general, a restraining order is restricted to a period of six months. However, the court may extend it to a period of up to one year and, in very special cases, two years.

It is important to note that the fact that a person took out a restraining order against a person who has harassed him/her, does not prevent him/her to file a complaint to the police and file a civil claim (monetary). The role of the restraining order is to provide the stalkee “temporary remedy”, to his/her damaged quality of life.

What is a protection order?

So far, we discussed restraining orders under the law of Prevention of stalking, which is a general law that relates to any relationship as such. In addition to this law, there is the law to prevent violence, specifically relating to events between family members.

The law of Prevention of Violence stipulates that a person who has been harassed by another person, who is a family member (family member is defined in the law of Prevention of Violence as a parent, child, spouse, brother, grandfather, uncle, etc.), may apply to the Court for a “protection order”. A protective order is in effect a restraining order, but in the law of Prevention of domestic violence, is referred to as a “protection order “.

A protection order is given in cases mentioned in the law of Prevention of stalking, such as harassment, threats, physical violence, verbal abuse, detection and tracking, and more. If proven to the court that there was harassment, then you can issue an order of protection (in a similar procedure to the law of Prevention of Violence). The order will be given after hearing the arguments of the parties. If the order is issued, then it shall include specific provisions regarding the stalker’s behavior. Unlike the law of Prevention of Stalking, in the law of prevention of domestic violence, restraining orders are more draconian, i.e.:

The protection order will include a near total ban on carrying of weapons. This in contrary to restraining orders under the law of Prevention of Stalking. However, in special cases, the court may allow the carrying or possession of a weapon. Also, when the decree is issued against a minor (for example, the son of people requesting the order), it has to refer the decision to a social worker and get an overview on the state of the minor and his/hers alternative housing options.

It should be noted that the validity of a protection order is three months, but the court may extend it to six months, then a year and a total of two years. But this – in very exceptional cases.

In conclusion:

Restraining orders are given in order to maintain the quality of life of a threatened person and protect him/her from those who bothered, treated with violence or threatened him/her. Our recommendation is: get legal advice, to submit an application for a protection order.

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