No one, not even someone you live with,
has the right to beat you or threaten you with violence.
THERE IS A LAW TO PROTECT YOU!
If someone you live with is beating you or threatening you, YOU CAN TAKE ACTION. Knowing your legal rights and other options is the first step toward ending the abuse.
The Domestic Violence laws protect you if you are being physically or sexually abused or threatened by your spouse, former spouse, or another family or household member who IS or WAS living in the same household as you, or you fear such abuse. The law protects you from abuse by a person with whom you have a child in common. You need not be married to the abuser or related to be protected under the law.
WHAT DOES THE LAW SAY?
IF YOU ARE THE VICTIM OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:
Many laws have been created to protect our citizens from domestic violence. If you are a victim, call 911 to report the abuse.
You also have the right to go to court and file a petition requesting an injunction for protection from domestic violence which may include, but need not be limited to, provisions which restrain the abuser from further acts of abuse; direct the abuser to leave your household; prevent the abuser from entering your residence, school, business, or place of employment; award you custody of minor child or children; and direct the abuser to pay support to you and the minor children if the abuser has a legal obligation to do so.
CAN AN INJUNCTION FOR PROTECTION HELP?
Yes…if this individual has abused you physically or sexually, or if you have reason to fear that this person is about to be violent toward you, this special law in Florida enables you to get a judge to ORDER the abuser to stay away from you.
An injunction for protection explains to the judge from whom you need protection and exactly what protection you need. You can ask for help even if you cannot afford to pay court fees. The clerk of court will supply you with proper forms.
WILL MY PERSONAL SITUATION BECOME PUBLIC?
A communication between a domestic violence advocate and a victim is “confidential” if it relates to the incident of domestic violence for which the victim is seeking assistance and if it is not intended to be disclosed to third persons.
A victim has a privilege to refuse to disclose, and to prevent any other person from disclosing, a confidential communication made in the course of advising, counseling, or assisting the victim.
WHAT CAN THE JUDGE DO FOR ME?
After you file your petition, the judge can sign a Temporary Injunction which will tell the abuser that he/she may not be violent toward you.
The Temporary Injunction is given to you by the judge. A court date will be set for an extension hearing within 15 days. You must attend the hearing in order to have the Injunction extended. A Palm Beach County Victim Services counselor may be at the hearing to support you. During the extension hearing, the judge may extend the Injunction for a period of time up to one year.
WHAT DOES THE INJUNCTION DO?
Some things the judge MAY order in the injunction are:
•That the abuser not contact you.
•That the abuser surrender all firearms.
•That the abuser not commit any acts of violence against you, your children, or others living with you.
•That the abuser immediately leave the home you share.
•That the abuser stay away from your home if you are not living together.
•That you have temporary custody of any children you and the abuser have together.
•That the abuser stay away from your home, job, school, or other places.
•That the abuser stay away from your vehicle and not damage your property.
The judge can order other help, depending upon the circumstances. This is why the contents of the Petition and your attendance at all hearings is so important–so that you can tell the judge what you need and why you need it.
WHAT IF THE ABUSE OR THREATS HAPPEN AGAIN?
A person who refuses to follow a judge’s order may be put in jail. If the abuser disobeys the judge’s order, please contact the Sheriff’s Office and show them the copy of the Injunction for Protection. In some cases the officer will arrest the abuser. If the abuser is not arrested, the victim may go to the Clerk’s Office and file an affidavit reporting the violation.
YOU CAN GET HELP
Getting help 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 following:
The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) has designated the following domestic violence centers, from which you may receive services:
YWCA Domestic Violence Shelter Harmony House
2200 North Florida Mango Rd. West Palm Beach, FL 33409
AID TO VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC ASSAULT (AVDA)
PO Box 667 Delray Beach, FL 33447-0667
If you need assistance with crisis counseling, court advocacy or criminal justice system information, please call a counselor at the nearest location:
SERVICES ARE OFFERED AT NO COST
PALM BEACH COUNTY SHERIFF”S OFFICE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE UNIT
3228 Gun Club Road
West Palm Beach, FL 33406
PALM BEACH COUNTY VICTIM SERVICES
205 S. Dixie Highway
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
SOUTH COUNTY COURT HOUSE
200 West Atlantic Avenue, Suite 120 Delray Beach, FL 33444
GLADES OFFICE BUILDING
2976 State Road #15 Belle Glade, FL 33430
(561) 996-1939 or (561) 996-1647
CRIME RESPONSE CRISIS TEAM HOTLINE
(561) 930-1234 (evenings)
FLORIDA DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE