- Help for Victims of Domestic Violence in North Carolina
If you are a victim of domestic violence, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your children. First, call the police or sheriff’s department if you are in immediate danger. Call 911 or go to the Emergency Room if you are injured.
- Use an Attorney and the Courts to Protect Yourself
After you have provided for your immediate safety, use the legal system to protect yourself. Call an experienced North Carolina family law and domestic violence attorney. Your attorney can help you obtain a Domestic Violence Protective Order to keep your abuser away from you. If your abuser violates the order, he or she will face the threat of arrest and jail.
- Civil and Criminal Actions Against Your Abuser
Your abuser can face both civil and criminal actions which can be filed at the same time. If you have been assaulted or threatened, you can go to a local magistrate and take out a warrant against the offender.
- What is Domestic Violence?
n our state, domestic violence is covered by North Carolina General Statute §50-B. This statute covers current or former spouses; persons of the opposite sex who live or have lived together; persons who are related as parents and children; persons who have a child in common; persons who are current or former household members; and lastly, persons of the opposite sex who are or have been in a dating relationship.
- How to Prove the Extent of Your Abuse
If you have been beaten or threatened, call the police or sheriff’s department as soon as you can safely do so. Ask the officer to make a report and take pictures if you have injuries. Write down the officer’s name and badge number so you know who to call as a witness in a civil or criminal action.
- How to Describe your Injuries to Law Enforcement
The term “domestic violence” is used to describe a category of abusive behaviors or crimes and is not – in and of itself – a specifically defined crime. So when you describe your abuse to a law enforcement officer, state what the specific abuse was. It can include crimes such as rape or other sexual abuse, assault or attempted assault, criminal trespass, spoken or written threats, stalking or harassing phone calls.
- Do Not Blame Yourself for the Abuse
Many victims of domestic violence get caught up in a cycle of blaming themselves for the abuse because they believe they weren’t submissive enough or they said something to aggravate the abuser. When being interviewed by law enforcement, do not make statements taking responsibility for the assault or threats made by the abuser. Do not make excuses for the abuser. There is no excuse for abusive behavior.
- Don’t Stay Trapped in an Abusive Situation – There is Help!
You do not have to allow someone to abuse you – or your children if you have them. North Carolina laws provide many protections from domestic violence. Contact an experienced North Carolina family law and domestic violence attorney who can advise you about the legal options available. You can free yourself from the fear of an abusive partner and legally protect yourself from injury.
- Defending Against False Allegations
If you are innocent, you should never attempt to represent yourself in a domestic violence hearing in court. In North Carolina, it is illegal to knowingly make a false statement in procurement of a domestic violence order, so if you are unjustly accused, contact an attorney right away.