The National Domestic Violence Hotline defines domestic violence as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone.
The Minnesota legislature enacted a Domestic Abuse Act, to: (1) establish the legal definition of domestic abuse; (2) determine the jurisdiction (power) for a domestic abuse case; (3) waive filing fees for an Order for Protection; and (4) create the court procedure for an Order for Protection.
According to Minnesota Statute §518B.01, “Domestic abuse” is defined as:
(1) physical harm, bodily injury, or assault;
(2) the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault; or
(3) terroristic threats, criminal sexual conduct, or interference with an emergency call.
There must be a certain relationship between the parties for the Court to issue an Order regarding Domestic Abuse. Spouses, former spouses, parents and children, people related by blood, unmarried couples, people who have lived together in the past, people who have a common child together or any people involved in a significant romantic and intimate relationship are all individuals who are subject to the Domestic Abuse Act.
The obvious cases of Domestic Abuse involve conduct where when one partner hits, punches, slaps, bruises, shoves or kicks another person. However, Minnesota Courts will find domestic abuse in less overt acts, such as the fear of harm. Examples of fear of harm include:
1. Where a former husband delivered parties’ marriage certificate to former wife’s doorstep in mutilated condition along with note which read “if this is what you want, this is what you will get,” Boniek v. Boniek, 443 N.W.2d 196 (Minn. App. 1989); or
2. Verbal threats such as “I will hunt you down” or “You’ll end up in a box.” Hall v. Hall, 408 N.W.2d 626 (Minn. App.1987).
At Clausen & Hassan, our lawyers have experience with Domestic Abuse issues and Order for Protection proceedings. We have successfully brought Petitions for Order for Protection and we also have significant experience in defending allegations of Domestic Abuse. If you have questions about your specific situation, contact our Minnesota Order for Protection Attorneys for your free consultation.