What can I do if I am abused?
Call the police. Charges may be filed if the abuser's acts constitute a crime. You may also apply for a Protective Order. You may seek counseling. You can leave the home. The proper course of action depends upon the nature and extent of the abuse. Do not ignore the abuse.
What is a Protective Order?
A Protective Order is a civil court order that can be issued by a judge if he/she finds probable cause to believe that the applicant has been abused or is threatened with abuse from another person. Violation of a Protective Order may be a criminal offense.
Am I eligible for a Protective Order?
If you are in fear because your partner has threatened you with bodily injury, caused you bodily injury, or attempted to do so, you may be granted a Protective Order. There is no requirement that the other person live in the same household, or be married to you.
What does a Protective Order do?
It is a court order directing that the other person refrain from abusing or threatening you. In the order, the court may also require the other person and/or the applicant to obtain counseling or other social services, including domestic violence education.
Where can I go to get a Protective Order?
The Office of the Clark County Clerk, located on the first floor of the City-County Building at 501 East Court Avenue in Jeffersonville, has form applications for a Protective Order. They may be completed and filed with the Clerk. The allegations in the Application must be sworn to or affirmed. Be truthful, specific, and do not exaggerate. There is no requirement for you to have an attorney and filing fees are often waived in cases of domestic violence. The Domestic Violence Unit of the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney is available to assist you in this process.
How long does it take for the Judge to issue the Protective Order?
Depending on the seriousness of the allegations in the Application, the Protective Order may be issued immediately, without a hearing. When the Protective Order is first issued, it is only temporary. The court will set a hearing date for both parties to appear within 20 days. At the hearing, the court may hear testimony from both sides, then will determine whether the temporary Protective Order should be made permanent. If the abuse is proved by a preponderance of the evidence, the court will issue a permanent Protective Order, ordering the other person to refrain from abusing, harassing, or disturbing the peace of the victim, either directly or indirectly.
What happens if a violation takes place?
Call the police. A knowing or intentional violation of a Protective Order is a criminal offense called Invasion of Privacy (Class B Misdemeanor), punishable by up to 180 days imprisonment and/or a $1,000 fine. If the violation was accomplished by committing other crimes (e.g., Battery, Confinement, Intimidation), those crimes may also be charged. A police officer need not witness the violation in order to make an arrest as long as there is proof that the Protective Order has been served on the other person, and there is probable cause to believe that the other person committed the violation. Always keep your Protective Order with you and show to the police who respond to your call. If the other person cannot be located, the police officer will submit a report to the Prosecuting Attorney, who will file charges in court if appropriate. It may be necessary later for you to appear in the Prosecutor's Office to give a statement regarding the incident.
How long does the Protective Order last?
A temporary Protective Order lasts only for 20 days, or until a permanent Protective Order hearing is held, whichever occurs first. A permanent Protective Order expires not more than 1 year after the order is issued. If the Protective Order is issued as a condition of bail, it will remain in effect until final disposition of the criminal charge. If the Protective Order is issued as a condition of Probation, it will remain in effect during the term of probation, usually 1 year.
What if I want to change the order?
Any modifications must be made by the judge. You must return to court and ask the judge to amend the order.
What is a safety plan?
Although no one should have to leave their home as a result of their partner abusing them, safety concerns may cause one to choose to leave. Should this situation present itself, a safety plan can be a big help. It will assist you in your efforts to leave. For instance: Safety during a violent incident ( try to move to a low risk place that has access to the outside of the house. Get away from the kitchen, bathroom or near any weapons). When preparing to leave, check for people who would be willing to assist you with money or a place to stay. Instructions about what to do after getting a Protective Order (such as have copies made); What to do in the event of a violation of the Protective Order; A list what to take when you leave ( i.d., money, keys, medication) and emergency numbers (Police, Prosecuting Attorney, and Women's Shelter).
How do I file criminal charges?
In Indiana, only the Prosecuting Attorney "files" criminal charges. A victim who calls the police, gives information to the responding officers. Depending on the information given, and whether the perpetrator can be located, the officers may make an immediate arrest. In any event, the results of the officers' investigation is then given to the Prosecuting Attorney, who makes the final decision as to which criminal charges should be filed, if any.
Alternatively, a victim may go directly to the Prosecuting Attorney and file a complaint, which may result in criminal charges being filed by the Prosecuting Attorney.
How can I drop charges?
In Indiana, a victim does not have the power to "drop" criminal charges. A criminal action involves a crime against the State of Indiana, not a particular victim. The Prosecuting Attorney represents the State of Indiana. Charges will be "dropped" only if the Prosecuting Attorney is convinced that it is in the best interests of the State of Indiana to do so.
Do I need to apply for a Protective Order if criminal charges are filed?
Routinely, when criminal charges are filed as a result of domestic violence, the Prosecuting Attorney requests that a Protective Order be entered as a condition of any bail posted by the abuser to gain release from jail. Upon a violation, new criminal charges (Invasion of Privacy) can be filed against the abuser. In addition, his bail may be revoked, and he may be required to remain in jail until final disposition of the criminal charges. Such a Protective Order entered in the criminal case makes it unnecessary to apply independently for a Protective Order in civil court.