- Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Domestic Violence victims seeking legal remedies may contact our Court Advocates. We can assist victims with filling out paperwork and filing protection orders. Advocates can explain options, accompany clients to hearings/trials in various courts throughout Summit and Medina Counties, and provide appropriate referrals. Advocates also provide support in police departments, prosecutor’s offices and in our Community Outreach Offices (which are located separately from our shelters).
Court Advocates are trained in crisis intervention with special emphasis on the legal aspects and rights of victims. We provide information on protection orders, victim compensation, and support and case management are available to every client as they move through the legal process.
Safety planning is an important part of what our Court Advocates do with clients in addition to educating clients on the variety of other services the Battered Women’s Shelter provides.
It is important to note that we are not attorneys, and we do not provide legal advice or representation in court, but we can provide you with referrals to practicing attorneys in your area.
IF YOU ARE A VICTIM: The Justice System can be a scary and confusing place. Among other things, you will have to take time off of work, find a babysitter, borrow gas money, look for a parking spot and worry about the unknown. It doesn’t seem quite fair, and it is important to remember that you are there because of somebody else’s actions, and it’s NOT YOUR FAULT.
Our advocates are here to explain the process as well as what to expect. When you have questions or you just want to talk, we are available by phone, or we will set an appointment to meet with you in the office. We will provide you with information on your rights and responsibilities as a victim. Sometimes, just having someone by your side takes some of the anxiety and stress away. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
IF YOU ARE A PROFESSIONAL: Our advocates are available to discuss legal options with victims in the office as well as over the phone. Sometimes victims can be hesitant to take legal action and for very good reason. Taking the steps to call the police or file a police report does not always mean that an arrest will be made. Victims know this. If the abuser finds out that the victim made a police report and no arrest is made, the victim is no safer than before.
In Ohio, we have what is called “preferred arrest.” It is not mandatory for the police to make an arrest just because a person makes a call/report to the police. If an arrest is made, the abuser could be out of jail the next day.
It is important to understand the difficult position the victim is in when making the decision to take legal action against the abuser. It is also important to remember that separation is the most lethal time in domestic violence situations, and we are here to safety plan with the victim.
In Summit County, please refer victims to (330) 375-2247, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., M-F.
In Medina County, please refer victims to (330) 723-9610, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., M-F.
The purpose of a protection order is to direct the abuser not to harm, attempt to harm, threaten, follow, stalk, harass, force sexual relations upon or commit any other sexually oriented offenses against the victim.
A protection order provides certain relief to a victim. It requires that the abuser or “respondent” stay a certain amount of feet or yards away from the victim or “petitioner” named on the order. A petitioner can also request their children to be named as protected parties on the order.
Magistrates/Judges have to follow the law and it is their job to determine whether someone meets the criteria under the law to qualify for a protection order.
There are different types of protection orders:
Criminal Temporary Protection Orders (TPO) – these orders are issued out of a criminal case and last as long as the case is open. If the case is open for 3 months, the order is in effect for 3 months. If you are a victim of domestic violence where an arrest has been made, you should be offered a TPO by the arresting officer. If you accept, you are required to go to court for a TPO hearing so that the court can formally issue the TPO.
Domestic Violence Civil Protection Order (CPO)- a police report or an arrest does not have to be made in order to file for this type of order. These orders are filed for in the Domestic Relations division of the court of Common Pleas. CPOs last up to 5 years and provide other types of relief that TPOs do not, such as, child support, spousal support, custody and visitation.
Civil Stalking or Sexually Oriented Offense Protection Order (SSOOPO)- The procedure is very similar to the procedure for obtaining a domestic violence CPO. One difference is that the petition for a stalking CPO must be filed with the general division, not the Domestic Relations division, of the court of Common Pleas. You may petition for this order if you have either been a victim of “menacing by stalking,” meaning the perpetrator has engaged in a pattern of conduct which causes the victim mental distress or the belief that they will be physically harmed, or if the offender has engaged in a sexually oriented offense against you.
For each type of Civil Protection Order, there are certain criteria to be met. Court Advocates can help victims figure out which order fits their situation.
For more information on felony cases visit: http://www.co.summit.oh.us/prosecutor/