NM Supreme Court establishes new rules for domestic violence restraining orders

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SANTA FE, N.M. – A recent ruling from the New Mexico State Supreme Court is going to have a big impact on how victims of domestic violence seek justice. The decision is making it easier for them to get protective orders.

The biggest takeaway from the decision is sexual assault and domestic violence victims do not have to prove they are in imminent danger to get an order of protection.

This was a unanimous opinion from the court under New Mexico’s Family Violence Protection Act. They have also included stalking under the umbrella of domestic violence. Meaning someone who is being stalked will also have an easier time obtaining a protective order.

Retired APD Commander Paul Szych said the ruling will save lives.

“The fact that the victim does not need to prove future harm to them in order to obtain the order of protection is a strong proactive measure that the Supreme Court is saying, ‘Look it is assumed that there is a future threat.’ If you are currently an abuser, and you have been an abuser then they are going to give the benefit of the doubt to the victim,” he said.

The decision is after APD recently announced that they are partnering with the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office to crack down on domestic violence.

APD Chief Harold Medina said the department has gotten nearly 10,000 domestic violence related calls this year.

KOB public safety expert Paul Szych said all these efforts are another layer of protection for victims.

“Honestly this is a big win for victims across the state of New Mexico and I definitely believe that it will reduce lethality and increase victim safety,” said Szych.

State law allows victims to get protective orders for domestic abuse by household members, it also protects people who have been sexually assaulted or stalked by someone outside of their household.