Domestic violence can affect anyone. If you are a victim of abuse, you are NEVER to blame – it is NOT your fault. The abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, economic or a combination of many types of abuse. Committing domestic violence is a choice made by the abuser!
Take action: Knowing your legal rights and other options is the first step toward ending the violence
WHAT IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
It is a pattern of controlling behaviors – violence or threats of violence – that one person uses to establish power over an intimate partner in order to control that partner’s actions and activities. Domestic violence is not a disagreement, a marital spat, or an anger management problem. Domestic violence is abusive, disrespectful, and hurtful behaviors that one intimate partner chooses to use against the other partner.
You may be experiencing domestic violence if your partner is doing any of these or other unwanted behaviors:
- Hurting you physically – slapping, hair pulling, strangling, hitting, kicking, grabbing, excessively squeezing or shaking, twisting your arms, burning you, or intentionally injuring you in any way
- Using your children against you
- Calling you names and hurting you emotionally
- Harming your pets
- Acting with extreme jealousy and possessiveness
- Isolating you from family and friends
- Threatening to commit suicide or to kill you
- Controlling your money
- Withholding medical help
- Stalking you
- Demanding sex or unwanted sex practices
- Hiding assistive devices
- Minimizing the destructive behavior
- Threatening to “out” you if you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or transgendered
- Controlling you with “that certain look in his eyes” or certain gestures
If you are a victim of abuse, you are never to blame. It is not your fault.
All of the tactics above are abusive, and some may also constitute a crime under Florida Statutes.
IT'S ABOUT YOUR SAFETY, HAVE A PLAN!
Your safety is important and making informed decisions about staying or leaving an abusive relationship is critical to your safety. You are the expert in your own life and the only one who knows what is right and safe for you. Florida’s certified domestic violence centers have trained advocates who are dedicated to assisting you with finding options and developing your safety plan.
For information on developing a plan, call the Peace River Domestic Violence Shelter 863.413.2707
INJUNCTION FOR PROTECTION AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, DATING VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE
What is an injunction?
It is a court order sometimes called a "Restraining Order", that directs the person not to have any contact with you.
Where can I obtain an injunction?
You can petition the court for an Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence by going to the Clerk of Court, Domestic Violence Department, 1st Floor, Polk County Courthouse in Bartow.
The Clerk's Office will assist you in filing your petition and will take the file to a judge for his/her review. If the judge finds merit to the petition, he/she will enter a Temporary Order for Protection Against Domestic Violence.
If the Domestic Violence occurs after regular business hours or on weekends or holidays you may call 911 to report the abuse. If the law enforcement officer determines that you need an injunction, a deputy clerk will be contacted. The deputy clerk will assist you with a safety plan, which may include requesting injunction. If an injunction is needed, the deputy clerk will prepare the paperwork and will present it to the judge to be approved or denied.
What are the costs?
Under Florida Law, effective October 1, 2002, there is no fee to file for a domestic violence Injunction for Protection. Other petitions for injunctions are subject to the standard Circuit Court filing fees, currently $101.50.
What can the injunction do for you?
The injunction can provide such relief as the court deems proper, including:
- Restrain the violator from committing any acts of domestic violence;
- Award you temporary exclusive use of the home;
- Award you temporary custody of your children - Establish temporary child support for minor children (if the violator has a legal obligation to do so);
- May order the violator to participate in counseling.
What happens after the Judge grants the temporary injunction?
The violator must be personally served with a copy of the petition, notice of hearing and temporary injunction. The formal hearing will be scheduled for court within 15 days. You and the violator are required to attend the hearing.
Any injunction granted by the court will be effective until further order of the court, unless the judge includes an expiration date. Either party may ask the court to modify or dissolve the injunction, and that decision is made by the judge. Copies of all injunctions are placed on file with local law enforcement agencies and are entered into a statewide computer system
Go to the courthouse in your county. Bring identification and any papers related to your case. Tell the clerk that you need an Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence.
The clerk will provide you with the paperwork and you are responsible for providing details relating to the need for protection. The process will take between 3 to 4 hours. There are NO FEES to file for an Injunction.
What if the abuse or threats happen again?
If the abuser disobeys the Injunction and threatens or physically abuses you, call your local law enforcement agency and show them the certified copy of the Injunction for Protection. In some cases, the officer will arrest the abuser. If the officer does not arrest the abuser, you can still file a Motion for Contempt at the county courthouse.
What if I have more questions?
Getting help can be a long and difficult process, but it is worth the effort and there are many people who will help you. If you are upset and have questions or if you need a safe place to stay, contact the Domestic Violence Center.
Polk County Domestic Violence Office (Courthouse) 863.534.4183
Peace River Center Domestic Violence Shelter 863.413.2700
Office of Attorney General Domestic Violence Programs 1.800.226.6667