Do you feel as though you or someone you love is being abused? If so, the solutions are multi-layered. First and foremost, you must consider your health and safety. REACH can help you get out of the abusive environment and create a safe living situation.
When and if you feel further action is needed, you may need a Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO). A DVPO is a civil document signed by a judge to help protect you and your children from someone who is abusing or harassing you.
It’s helpful to know upfront that a protective order is free of charge.
A protective order has many names and may also be called:
- Restraining order
- Protective order
- DVPO (Domestic violence Protective Order)
Does your relationship qualify?
Plaintiff and defendant must be one of the following:
- Current or former spouses
- Persons of the opposite sex who live together
- Parents of a child in common
- Related as parent and child or grandparent and grandchild
- Current or former household members
- Persons of the opposite sex who are in or have been in a dating relationship
Does your situation qualify?
Under NCGS 50B-1(a) one of the following has to have occurred in the last couple of weeks:
- Attempting to cause or intentionally causing you bodily injury (an assault)
- Placing you in fear of imminent bodily injury (a direct threat)
- Continually harassing you and causing extreme emotional distress
- Committing a listed sexual offense against you or your child(ren)
What can a DVPO do?
It may order an abuser to do the following:
- Stay away from you, your home, your work, and anywhere you may be.
- Leave the residence. If you live together, you may be granted possession of the residence, or you may request an officer to accompany you to retrieve your belongings.
- Protect your pets and/or give you primary care and control of your pet.
- Surrender all firearms and ammunition to the county Sheriff and not be able to purchase or possess a firearm.
- Give you use and possession of the vehicle.
- If the children witness an incident or are injured during a domestic dispute, it may grant temporary custody of the minor children.
How to apply for a DVPO
See a victim advocate (at REACH or HCSO) during normal business hours to complete the paperwork.
- Provide as many details as you can about the abuse you have suffered. You will need to include specific dates and any documentation you may have such as phone calls or text messages, and how it has affected you and your children.
- Have a hearing in front of a district court judge and explain why you are in immediate need of a protective order.
- Return to court for another hearing within 10 days. Your abuser will receive a copy of the protective order and will be notified of the court date.
If you’d like to fill out your own DVPO, click here to download instructions and the form.
Enforcement of a protective order is a team effort
- Report any violation to the police or magistrate immediately. The defendant will be arrested for violating the DVPO.
- Carry a copy of your DVPO with you at all times. Keep one at work, at home, at your child’s school, in your car, and one in your purse. (Law enforcement can make an arrest more easily if they can see that a protective order is in effect and that it has been violated.)
- Avoid making deliberate contact with your abuser. A DVPO orders the abuser to stay away from you and not have any contact with you. Therefore, you should not contact them either!
- The DVPO should only be one aspect of your safety plan. Consider working with your victim advocate on additional resources to keep you and your children safe!
- Do not take chances with your personal safety!
- Take steps to protect yourself from abuse!
HELP IS AVAILABLE!!
|CANTON POLICE||(828) 648-2376|
|WAYNESVILLE POLICE||(828) 456-5363|
|MAGGIE VALLEY POLICE||(828) 926-0867|
|HCSO DOMESTIC UNIT||(828) 452-6672|
|MAGISTRATE’S OFFICE||(828) 456-8191|
|DISTRICT ATTORNEY||(828) 454-6510|