Domestic Violence: Essential Questions and Answers
At The Law Office of Monte J. Robbins, Esq., we understand the complexities and the urgency of addressing domestic violence. Below are answers to frequently asked questions we encounter from clients facing such distressing circumstances.
- What Can I Do To Prevent the Abuser From Approaching Me After I Leave?
- How To Find Shelter and Safety?
- What if TROs Can't Be Issued by Judges in My Area After 5 P.M.?
- How Can I Strengthen My Domestic Violence Case?
- What Actions Should I Take After Getting a TRO?
- What if the Abuse Persists Even With a TRO in Place?
One of the most effective legal instruments to halt domestic abuse is securing a temporary restraining order (TRO). A TRO is a court-ordered mandate that prohibits the abuser from continuing any form of violence against you, and may stipulate that the abuser must steer clear of your home, workplace, school, your children's school, and other places you frequent, including your place of worship. The order further bans any further acts of violence.
Securing a TRO is designed to be accessible, so victims can obtain protection swiftly. In certain states, like New York and California, clerks at the court provide assistance by offering the necessary forms and aiding in filling them out. After completing the paperwork, a judge will hear the evidence of abuse, which may include medical or police records. Judges are usually on call to issue TROs even outside conventional business hours to recognize that domestic violence does not confine itself to a 9-to-5 schedule.How To Find Shelter and Safety?
In many localities, there are facilities known as battered women's shelters that provide temporary refuge for women and their children who have fallen victim to domestic violence. These shelters offer a safe harbor during the immediate crisis or until a more permanent housing solution is arranged. Local police departments, welfare offices, community resource centers, or women's advocacy groups often have information about these shelters. Look up terms like Crisis Intervention Services, Social Service Organizations, Family Services, Shelters, or Women's Organizations in your phone directory. In some jurisdictions, police officers are required to provide victims with emergency housing referrals, legal advice, and counseling resources.
For additional assistance, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) can be reached at 303-839-1852 or via their website at www.ncadv.org. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is another crucial resource available at 800-799-SAFE (7233) or online at www.ndvh.org.What if TROs Can't Be Issued by Judges in My Area After 5 P.M.?
In such situations, you should immediately contact your local police department. Police can issue an emergency protective order, which functions similarly to a TRO when the courts are closed. Although these protective orders are typically short-term, covering weekends or holidays, they provide immediate protection. You'll be required to petition for a TRO through the court on the following business day.How Can I Strengthen My Domestic Violence Case?
The process of seeking a restraining order follows specific legal criteria. Here are some steps to enhance the likelihood of success in court:
- Police Reports: Always call the police if you're threatened or subjected to violence. These reports are vital for your safety and will strengthen your court case. Obtain a copy of the police report if you decide to seek a TRO.
- Photographs: Document any injuries by taking photos, ideally with the help of a friend or family member. Capture various angles and lighting conditions. Remember to also photograph any property damage as a result of the violence.
Register your TRO with the police in the areas the abuser has been ordered to stay away from, including your residence, workplace, school, church, or your children’s school. You can reach out to local police stations for guidance on how to formally register your order.What if the Abuse Persists Even With a TRO in Place?
A restraining order can serve as a significant deterrent; however, it may not stop an abuser who is intent on causing harm. If abuse continues despite the TRO, immediately contact the police, who will take swift action. Police intervention is generally more forthright when you have a TRO. Even without a current TRO, always report incidents of domestic violence to the police, as these are criminal offenses.
When the police arrive, ensure they file an official incident report and ask for its number for your records. If you opt to press charges, remember that the final decision to prosecute lies with the district attorney. However, without your initiative to press charges, it is unlikely the district attorney will pursue the case.
Should you require further assistance or have additional questions, do not hesitate to contact The Law Office of Monte J. Robbins, Esq. at 303-355-5148 for compassionate and dedicated legal support.