New Arizona Bill May Allow Injunction Against Harassment for Sexual Assault Victims
Sexual assault is a chilling situation that nobody should have to experience. Unfortunately, it happens far too often – leaving victims with serious physical, mental, and emotional trauma. What’s worse, some survivors of sexual abuse and violence often find themselves in situations where they regularly face their attackers. They may work in the same building, live in the same neighborhood, and attend the same school.
Unfortunately, in many situations, survivors have limited options for legal recourse. In one incident, a woman who was drugged and sexually assaulted, worked with her attacker. After the attack occurred, she immediately reported it to her employer, which prompted an investigation.
Throughout the ordeal, she continued to work with her attacker, who was never placed on leave, despite the allegations. Her employer urged her to petition for a protective order, which would prohibit him from being present in the building.
The only problem: since the woman had no domestic or romantic relationship with her attacker, she was unable to get a protective order.
How SB 1250 may help victims of sexual assault
Historically, protective orders only apply to harassment arising from domestic disputes. Currently under Arizona law, you may only be granted a protective order if the relationship involves:
- Current or previous marriage
- Blood relationships
- Individuals sharing the same household
- Parents of the same child
That may soon change with a new bill, Senate Bill 1250, which would add a new provision to the existing injunction against harassment.
Initially, SB 1250 was sponsored by Senator Victoria Steele, D-Tucson, but failed to advance. The bill was later revived by Senator Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert. It passed the Senate in February and is currently awaiting final approval in the House.
If SB 1250 becomes law, it will allow victims of sexual assault or violence to petition a court for an injunction against harassment. This would act as a protective order in non-domestic situations.
How protective orders work
When petitioning for a protective order or injunction against harassment, you must prove to a judge that the actions of another individual – whether domestic or non-domestic – was intended to harm, harass, or annoy you. If granted, a protective order would prohibit the individual from contacting you or being in the presence of your home or place of employment for one year while a long-term solution is being worked out.
Completing a petition for a protective order can be a complex process and will require that all paperwork is filled out correctly. That’s why it’s crucial that you first seek the counsel of experienced family law attorney Brad Crider. He will gladly sit down with you for a confidential consultation and ensure that the process is completed correctly. To learn more, contact us today.