Domestic Violence and Domestic Violence Injunction FAQ
An injunction is a court order sometimes called a “Restraining Order” that directs a person not to have any contact with you. It is one legal means of helping to protect a person from threats or acts of violence by another person.
These FAQ’s relate to Injunctions in Florida. Your state may have a similar procedures, but you will need to verify. It is also important to note that a Domestic Violence Injunction may have different names in other states. These names include Order of Protection and Restraining Order among others.
What is the difference between a criminal no-contact order and a civil DVI?
- A criminal no-contact order is generated immediately upon the arrest of the offender and ends when the judge terminates it or the case is closed
- A civil DVI must be applied for by the victim, can be more specifically tailored to their circumstances including timesharing, child support and alimony. It can stay in place for a longer duration and become a final judgement
What is the Domestic Battery Diversion (or intervention) program?
- With a Batterer’s Intervention Program (BIP), the abuser typically takes a 26 week course about domestic violence. The abuser may also participate in therapy and may have other conditions such as alcohol and drug monitoring
- The goal of the program is to help abuser learn not to abuse
- Should the abuser re-offend after completion of program, the next domestic battery charge may automatically a felony
What is the difference between Batterer’s Intervention and Anger Management therapy?
- Anger management therapy simply focuses on controlling anger whereas Batterer’s intervention focuses on understanding the cycle of power and control and helping the abuser not re-offend
- Neither program have a 100% success rate or even close but may help.
My abuser was convicted or plead guilty to Domestic Violence, do they lose parental rights?
- Even if your abuser goes to jail, in the state of Florida, they still retain rights unless they sign them away or there are extreme circumstances
What records are helpful for going to court for the final injunction hearing?
- Any photographic or written evidence
- Any audio or video evidence IF both parties are aware of the recording
- Video if in a public place
- Any witnesses who may have seen abuse
- Text messages, voicemails, emails, or similar demonstrating abuse behavior or imminent fear there of
- Journal made by the victim documenting abuse
How do I get Police Records/Reports?
- Call the police department and ask for the records department. You should have as much information as possible including a case number. Typically, a report with redacted information can be made available quickly
- If you need a police officer to show up to court in person, they must be subpoenaed. A subpoena must typically be issued at least 7 days in advance for an officer to show up
Why is DCF involved if my child was not in the room and saw nothing?
- Police officers and others are mandatory reporters. If the child was in the home at the time of the abuse, they could be in danger. DCF will verify the child is not in harm’s way.
- If Police are involved, it can be even more important to file for an injunction
Who can be a supervisor if my abuser is only allowed supervised timesharing/visitation?
- Anyone can be a possible supervisor, parents or family members of the abuser as well as paid supervisors or a supervised visitation center. As a victim, you do get input, but not necessarily the final say
Where do I find a paid supervisor?
- Google your local county or city to find centers
What is the difference between a supervised visitation center and a paid supervisor
- A visitation center is set up for more difficult cases and has more security. It is easier to document issues at a visitation center as there are more witness present and they are trained in what to look out for. A paid supervisor can meet in agreed upon location
How do I find a support group?
- The National Domestic Violence hotline can direct you to resources in your area. Most domestic violence resources centers have support groups of some kind. So, call them
- Many support groups meet in churches or other safe locations and may provide childcare.
- If you know a survivor, ask them and they may be able to help
What is the benefit of a support group?
- A support group allows a victim or survivor to speak with fellow survivors, receive support, and share resources and ideas
- It provides a victim a safe place to go even if they are still in their DV relationship
- Knowing they’re not alone can help victims and survivors
What does a DV legal advocate do?
- A DV legal advocate can provide handholding and moral support in and out of court
- They cannot give legal advice, but they can be there through the whole process
What can DV help centers do? Why can’t they help me past the initial crisis?
- They can connect you to free or discounted legal service, provide funds to find a new place to live, provide basic necessities or household items to get started in a new home, and provide a safe house/shelter for short term living
- Some may have transitional housing
- They can connect survivors to other resources such as counseling, housing help, therapy services, pro bono legal services and more.
- Many DV centers run SUPPORT GROUPS!
- Often, a center doesn’t have enough funding to provide services past the initial crisis and those that do have limited resources
- Every center is different so some may provide more help than others
What other resources are available or how do I find them?
- Many local organizations provide help, DV help centers may have referrals
- Local family, friends and churches can also provide resources and support. Don’t be afraid to ask!
Why should I seek therapy and for how long?
- Abuse is trauma, real trauma and has long lasting impacts if you don’t work through it. Anyone who has gone through trauma such as DV (Emotional, physical, financial and more) can benefit from therapy. Some will go only a short time, some much longer. Therapy provides a place to talk to someone who can help process emotions, feelings, and work on long-term goals toward recovery
- In Pinellas County, Suncoast provides free in-home therapy to survivors with children under 18 living in the home. They also provide free Trauma Therapy. Other counties and states may have similar resources.
How do I build a support system, who will it compose of?
- Start with a close and trusted friend or family. Churches can often be a great place to find support. Support groups are also a great place to go
- Your friends and family may surprise you and provide more help than you think
Can my abuser contact me through social media?
- Yes! Unless you block them. If you have an Injunction, this is violating the injunction so report it
Can I choose the supervisor for my child and my abuser?
- You can have input, but not the final say
Can I request the supervisor have a background check?
- You can do one yourself since anyone can do a background check on someone
What should I tell my child(ren) about the police?
- Police help people and should not be feared. If at all possible, minimize the children’s involvement, age dependent.
Do I need to pay to subpoena a police officer as a witness or anyone as a witness?
- There is a fee for a subpoena, if you are pro-se (self-representing), do this through the clerk of the court
Why can’t my abuser be permanently supervised with my child(ren)?
- Florida law says all parents and children have a right to frequent and continuing contact with the children providing there are no problems. If an abuser has stopped the abusive behavior, they will be able to have frequent and continuing contact with the child
What happens if I get subpoenaed in my abuser’s criminal/civil case?
- You always have to obey a subpoena, but bring your lawyer