Domestic Violence Is a Crime
If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can ask the county prosecuting attorney to file a criminal complaint. You also have the right to file a petition in magistrate court requesting an order of protection from domestic abuse - a Protection Order.
Cycle of Violence
Research shows that violence can be prevented or reduced when authorities intervene. Otherwise, the cycle of violence and abuse can continue, against you and your children, and may increase in frequency and intensity. If you are a victim of domestic violence, break the cycle - ask for help.
A protection order can:
- Stop the person from hurting you and/or your children
- Stop the person who has been hurting you from entering your home, school or where you work
- Require the person who hurt you to get help with counseling
- Require the abuser to leave the household
- Keep the children in your care
If the person who hurt you is arrested, they may be issued a No Contact Order when released.
If someone has hurt you and they are arrested, they may be issued a no contact order as a condition of their release from jail. The no contact order is issued as a condition of bond when a person is charged with domestic assault or battery, stalking, or violation of a protection order. The no contact order will vary depending on the judge's instructions. At the least, it will order the person not to have any contact with you, the victim. Report any type of contact immediately. The no contact order may also order the arrested person to stay away from you, your children, your place of work and your children's schools. You should not attempt to contact the arrested person either.
Violation of the no contact order is a misdemeanor for which the violator may be arrested without a warrant. When arrested under this circumstance, the violator will not be permitted to bond out of jail before he/she sees a judge.
The purpose of the No Contact Order is for you to have time to get the help you need to stop the cycle of violence. The No Contact Order gives you time to ask for a temporary protection order from the Magistrate.
Idaho passed a law in 1988 that can help you get protection from further abuse. This is the Domestic Violence Crime Prevention Act (Idaho Code 39-6302).
The law protects spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who live or have lived together, persons who have had a child in common, whether they have been married or have ever lived together and minors in dating relationships. A protection order is a court order for a person to stop hurting you.
Always keep a certified copy of your protection order with you.
Deliver copies to your employer, your child's daycare and everyone else who needs to know about this order. Keep a certified copy to show to the law enforcement officer if you need help.
This protection order may be obtained without a lawyer. Applications, called "petitions", are available from the clerk of the district court in the county where you live. Tell the clerk you need protection from domestic violence. This is free.
- Go to your county courthouse or your local shelter
- Ask the clerk or shelter program for a protection order.
- They will give you a form to fill out! called a petition
The "petition" is a legal document. It is important that you understand that you are under oath and have to tell the truth when filling it out.
Don't let the form scare you. A lot of information is required by the law to seek protection. Just answer the questions as completely as you can in your own words. If you need help in filling out the forms, contact Idaho 24-Hour Hotline at phone: 800-669-3176.
The person who fills out the form, usually you the victim - is called the petitioner. The person the victim needs protection from is the respondent. The petition can be filed in the county you live in, where you are temporarily living, or where the respondent is living.
The most important part is to explain in your own words why you are afraid of being hurt. Explain how you were hurt. Be specific about violent acts or threats. Include dates, places, injuries, if children have been present if a weapon was used - write down what kind, and give information about any prior police reports made on the person hurting you. Write everything you can about this abuse. This is important. The judge will use what you write to decide if you need help or not. If you feel you are in danger, put this down. The form is in English. Ask for help if you need it.
After you are done, give the completed form to the clerk.
- Answer each question as completely as you can
- Petitioner means the person who was hurt
- Respondent means the person who caused the hurt
- Write about how when and where you were hurt
- Give the completed form to the clerk
The clerk will give the form to the judge in person or by telephone. After you see the judge and a temporary order is issued, you need to return to the court clerk's office to get your copy. The judge may issue you a temporary protection order at that time, and will set a hearing date within 14 days to decide whether to issue a full 90-day "Protection Order"; You must come to this hearing. Follow through! The clerk will tell you when and where the hearing is.
If the judge signs a temporary protection order or sets a date for a protection order hearing, law enforcement will serve a copy to the person who abused you. You need to provide thorough information about the person's possible location so he/she can be served with the protection order.
It is very important that you read the entire protection order. You may be ordered into an orientation class or you may find an error which must be pointed out to the clerk immediately.
- The judge will decide if you need protection.
- The judge may give you up to 14 days of safety (the temporary protection order) without a hearing.
- If the protection order is issued get your copy from the court clerk.
- A court date will be set to decide if a longer time of protection will be given.
- Go to your protection order hearing. This is for the 90-day protection order.
- Always keep a certified copy of your protection order with you.
If you are granted a protection order, it is usually for 90 days and can be renewed for 1-year periods if you need more protection. If you do need to have it renewed remember to do this before it expires. You can apply for a change in this order at any time.
Violation of a protection order is serious! A violation of any provision of a protection order is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine up to $5,000;
Once a judge has issued a protection order to you, and the respondent (person you need protection from) is served with notice of the protection order, it is then against the law to violate any part of the protection order. Call your law enforcement Number and report the violation. Gather any information you can to assist the officer. The majority of respondents take this protection order seriously, but some do violate this court order. It is important to notify the authorities and to keep yourself as safe as possible. Do not have false hopes that the protection order will be all you need to be safe, especially if violent violations occur. You also must obey the protection order.
- Call and report the protection order violation.
- If there are witnesses. Get their names and ask them to stay until law enforcement arrives.
- Remember that for some respondents. the protection order is only a piece of paper. Your safety comes first. Do not depend upon the protection order as your only source of safety.
You may be eligible for victim's compensation. Call 800-950-2110 for further information. This fund can directly reimburse victims of crime for related medical and counseling expenses riot covered by other resources.
If you need child support call your local Department of Health and Welfare and ask for the child support enforcement office. You may be able to receive financial help (Idaho Code 32706).
There are many resources available in Idaho for information related to domestic violence. Shelters provide food: shelter, clothing and referral services in a supportive atmosphere. Safe homes provide similar services with a volunteer family in the community. In some areas of Idaho, motels provide emergency housing and those with longer shelter needs are referred to nearby shelters.
Emergency medical help is available from your local doctor, hospital or clinic. Call your local domestic violence program for phone numbers of nearby medical service providers.
You also have the right to sue for losses suffered as a result of the abuse, including medical and moving expenses, loss of earnings or support, and other out-of-pocket expenses for injuries sustained and damage to your property. This can be done without an attorney in small claims court if the total amount claimed is under $3,000.