There are laws in the State of Georgia which are designed to offer some protection and help to victims of domestic violence and their children. The Family Violence Act provides special procedures for domestic violence situations. Family Violence is defined in this law as any felony, battery, assault, stalking, criminal damage to property, unlawful restraint or criminal trespass between past or present spouses, parents of the same child, parents and children, or other persons living or formerly living in the same household.
The Family Violence Act allows victims to obtain a temporary protective order to bring an end acts to family violence. The protective order may, among other things, direct the abuser to refrain from acts of family violence, evict the abuser from the family home, award temporary custody of children, order child support payments and order parties to receive psychiatric counseling. It also enables victims to have hearings within 30 days of filing the petition and allows the protective orders to become permanent rather than temporary. Income deduction orders allow victims to receive child support or spousal support directly from the abuser's employer so that the victim does not have to come into contact with the abuser in order to obtain funds. In order to make the procedures less overwhelming to victims, provisions are made within the Family Violence Act which allow social service agency staff or the clerk of Superior Court to advise victims on filling out forms for petitions and pleadings.
It is also important to remember that domestic violence is a crime even though it occurs between family members. In addition to the protections offered by the Family Violence Act, abusers may be prosecuted for simple or aggravated assault, simple battery, battery or aggravated battery,
Georgia law also provides some protection against stalkers. “Stalking” is when a person follows, places under surveillance, or contact another person to harass or intimidate the other person. “Aggravated stalking” is when a person violates a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, permanent injunction, condition of pretrial release, condition of probation or condition of parole. A person convicted to staking is guilty of a misdemeanor. The penalty for violating the stalking law a second time is imprisonment for one to five years. The penalty for aggravated stalking is imprisonment for one to five years and a fine of up to $10,000.
If you need additional legal information contact an attorney or utilize the services available under the Family Violence Act.