Misuse of Restraining or Protective Orders Against Domestic Violence – What Are the Legal Consequences?
What may be done in cases of misuse of a restraining order or protective order against domestic violence? The idea behind these orders is to provide a quick and easy solution against various acts of violence, including those occurring within the family. Unfortunately, these orders are sometimes misused for revenge against spouses or acquaintances, or for other inappropriate motives. The law and the courts take these cases seriously, and award high compensation when they occur. After being asked about this issue by several clients, we have decided to publish the following short guide. Below, a lawyer specializing in family law and civil law from our firm explains about the possible courses of action in such cases.
Our law firm, which has branches in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, specializes in family law and in the various areas of civil law. The lawyers from our firm represent their clients before the various courts and authorities. They have extensive experience in representing clients in compensation claims, mediation and dispute resolution proceedings, and more.
Restraining Orders and Protective Orders – What Happens When These Are Used Against the Law?
Violence is rising throughout Israel and in all sections of society. We hear every morning on the news about assaults, threats, and harassment. In response to this situation, laws have been enacted to provide immediate protection against acts of violence. The main laws that have been enacted in this area are the Law for the Prevention of Stalking and the Prevention of Family Violence Law.
These laws make it possible to apply to court for restraining orders. The orders are intended to address various cases of disputes or harassment, including cases of domestic violence. Requests for such orders are usually discussed in expedited procedures, due to the need for an urgent solution. The court is empowered to impose various restrictions on the person against whom the order is directed. These may require the offender to keep away from the victim, limit their right to contact the victim, restrain them from stalking the victim, and so on.
These are severe restrictions by all accounts, which are meant to deal with cases where there is a real danger, or where there is real difficulty in maintaining a normal life. However, there are, unfortunately, also cases where the order is misused – that is, cases in which the order is requested even though it is not necessary, based on false arguments.
There are various reasons why this happens – for example, as an attempt to take revenge on the person against whom the order is directed, such as in conflicts between spouses or neighbor disputes. In these cases, false accusations may be used against the opponent with the purpose of receiving a restraining order. Whatever the reasons may be – the bottom line is that these things do happen. The question that arises is what can be done in these cases.
What Does the Law Say About the Misuse of a Restraining or Protective Order?
The law does not favor (to say the least) the misuse of these orders. In cases of a restraining or protection order that is issued due to false allegations, the court is empowered to award compensation and reimbursement of legal expenses to the victims. Although victims are entitled to claim compensation and reimbursement of expenses in separate proceedings, the court is empowered to award them on its own accord, without the victims’ request.
Besides the protections provided by law, it is sometimes also possible to sue for defamation in such cases. You can find an extended explanation about the Prohibition of Defamation Law and tort claims based on it in another article published on our website. There may even be serious cases where this may lead to criminal charges – for example, in cases of false testimony or made-up evidence.
How Do the Courts Treat Cases of Misuse of a Restraining or Protective Order?
In a large number of judgments, courts have emphasized the seriousness of filing unjustified requests for restricting orders. This not only causes harm to the person against whom the order is issued, but is also a waste of judicial time. The courts have a heavy workload, and they have no tolerance for false requests such as these.
In a recent decision by the Family Affairs Court in Jerusalem (stalking and protective order 34579-08-20), the court awarded reimbursement of legal expenses to a husband against whom his wife had requested a protective order. The application was found to have been filed under false allegations. The court ruled that the wife must pay the husband’s legal expenses, and must also pay expenses to the State treasury.
Contact a Lawyer Who Specializes in Family Law and Civil Law
This short guide shows how to deal with cases in which restriction orders and protective orders against violence in the family are abused. For any question you may have or advice and guidance you may need on the subject, the lawyers at our firm are available for you. Our law firm specializes in family law and civil law. The firm provides a variety of legal services, including assistance and representation in civil and criminal lawsuits.