What is domestic violence?
As stated in Florida Statute 741.28, domestic violence means any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another who is or was residing in the same single dwelling unit. This includes acts such as:
- Physical Abuse - Pushing, slapping, kicking, punching, chocking, and beating
- Emotional/Verbal Abuse - Threats, verbal intimidation, following and stalking, or acting out in anger
- Sexual Abuse - Any unwanted touching or forcing of someone to engage in a sexual act against his/her will
What does the law mean?
If you are being physically or sexually abused, threatened, or stalked by a family or household member, there is a law to protect you. Family or household member means spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past as a family, and persons who have a child in common, regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time.
Under the provisions of Florida Statute 741.29(3), whenever a law enforcement officer determines upon probable cause that an act of domestic violence has been committed within the jurisdiction, the officer may arrest the person or persons suspected of it commission and charge such person or persons with the appropriate crime.
The decision to arrest and charge shall not require the consent of the victim or consideration of the relationship of the parties.
If you are the victim of domestic violence...
As stated in Florida Statute 741.29(1)(b), if you are the victim of domestic violence, you may ask the State Attorney to file a criminal complaint. 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
- Directing the abuser to leave your household
- Preventing the abuser from entering your residence, school, business, or place of employment
- Awarding you custody of your minor child or children
- Directing the abuser to pay support to you and the minor children if the abuser has a legal obligation to do so
How can the law help me?
If you are the victim of domestic violence, or if you have reason to believe that you may become a victim of any act of domestic violence, you have the right to request that an Injunction for Protection from Domestic Violence be issued. The victim's advocate office at the Port Orange Police Department or the Clerk of the Court is required to assist you in seeking both injunctions for protection against domestic violence and enforcement for a violation of an injunction. For safety reasons, you may furnish your address to the court in a separate confidential filing when filing the petition for injunction. Representation by an attorney is not required. If you cannot afford filing fees, tell the Clerk of the Court and there may be no cost. The applicable forms may also be obtained from the Port Orange Victim Advocate Office.
- Bring identification
- Bring information about where the abuser can be located
- Bring any other information on the abuser, such as photos or identification
- Bring any papers relating to your case
- Tell the clerk that you are interested in filing an Injunction for Protection from Domestic Violence. The Court Clerk will help you in filing the proper paperwork. By filling out these forms, you will be explaining to the judge whom you need protection from and exactly what type of protection you need.
- After you have completed the paperwork, the court may determine that danger of domestic violence exists. The court may order a temporary injunction, which is good for 15 days. Then a full hearing is held to consider the safety of you and your children
- The abuser must be served with the injunction before it becomes effective. The injunction will tell the abuser what the judge requires and when to return to court for a hearing. The hearing will be within 15 days, unless the abuser cannot be served.
- It is important to attend the hearing so that you can make sure the judge understands exactly what help you need and why. A victim's advocate from the Port Orange Police Department will accompany you if requested. If you do not attend, the judge will end the injunction.
- After the hearing, a final injunction may be granted for life or a specific period of time, and may be extended past that time.
- Only a judge may modify or dissolve an existing injunction
What if the abuser violates the injunction?
You will receive a copy of the injunction. Keep it with you at all times. If the abuser violates the conditions of the injunction, call the police right away.
- The abuser may be arrested
- If the abuser is arrested, he/she will be held until the court determines bail
- The judge will consider your safety and the safety of your children
- You may go to court if you wish
- The court may order penalties as allowed by law
If the injunction has been violated, but no arrest has been made, violation forms are available in the victim's advocate office at the Port Orange Police Department. You may also report the violation to the Clerk's Office where you filed your injunction papers. The Clerk's Office will help you file your petition for enforcement of the violation. The judge will determine what action should be taken for your safety and the safety of your children.
Exemption from public inspection...
Under the provisions of Florida Statute 119.07(3)(s), disclosure of any document which reveals the home or employment telephone number, home or employment address, or personal assets of a person who has been the victim of sexual battery, aggravated child abuse, aggravated stalking, harassment, aggravated battery, or domestic violence is exempt from public inspection and examination, if that document is received by an agency that regularly receives information from or concerning the victims of crime. You must make a written request to the agency and provide official verification, such as a police report, that an applicable crime has occurred. Such information shall remain exempt for 5 years, after which it will become available to the public.
Note: This provision is limited to documents received by agencies; it does not apply to records generated or made by these agencies. Accordingly, this exemption does not apply to police reports.
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. An advocate 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.
Note: This privilege is reserved for communications with advocates at the Domestic Abuse Council. While communications with Port Orange Victim Advocates are not subject to public record, they may be subpoenaed.
Securing a domestic violence injunction...
Routine Injunctions: Go to the victim's advocate office at the Port Orange Police Department, or to the Volusia County Courthouse Annex in Daytona Beach (M-F 8am - 4:30pm), located at 125 East Orange Avenue, Room #308 . The clerk there will give you simplified forms to complete. The clerk requires you to pay a filing fee to the Clerk of Court in the amount of $30.00 and a service fee to the Sheriff of Volusia County in the amount of $20.00. If you are unable to pay the above fees, the clerk can provide you an Affidavit of Indigency in lieu of payment for these costs. After you have paid or filed the Affidavit and completed the necessary paperwork with specific facts and circumstances upon which you are seeking protection, the clerk will require you to sign all paperwork under oath. The clerk will then process the paperwork and forward your file immediately to the assigned judge. The judge reviews all paperwork and renders his/her decision accordingly. Whether the judge grants or denies your petition, a hearing will be set and both parties will be required to appear. The clerk will provide a certified copy of the Order and Notice of Hearing for you to keep at all times. The clerk will furnish a copy of all the paperwork to the Sheriff of the county where the respondent resides or can be found. The Sheriff will serve the respondent as soon thereafter as possible.
Non-Emergency Immediate Injunctions: When a physical domestic occurs, and the abuser has been arrested, this process occurs at the Volusia County Branch Jail during first appearance (8:30am). Contact the Port Orange Victim Advocate Office for assistance with the paperwork.
Emergency Immediate Injunctions: When a physical domestic occurs, and the abuser has not been arrested, contact the Port Orange Victim Advocate Office for assistance. They will assist you with contacting the clerk of the court at the Volusia County Branch Jail to determine if the emergency injunction criteria apply. Once the injunction has been ordered, the Port Orange Police Department can serve it.
Can I get financial help?
The Florida Bureau of Victim Compensation, operated by the Office of the Attorney General, may provide financial assistance for eligible persons, but only after all other sources of payment have been exhausted. Payments accepted by in-state providers on behalf of victims are payment-in-full per Florida Statute. Claimants who are determined eligible for the Victim Compensation Program are exempt from the insurance deductible and co-payment provisions of their insurance policy(ies). Total victim compensation benefits cannot exceed the maximum award amount of $25,000 ($30,000 for catastrophic injury); limitations include:
- $5,000 for funeral burial expenses
- $2,500 mental health counseling for adult victims
- $2,500 mental health counseling for minor victims present at the crime scene who were not physically injured as result of the crime
- $7,500 mental health counseling for injured minor victims
- $10,000 for treatment expenses
- $25,000 for lost wages, lost support or disability ($30,000 for catastrophic injury)
Victim or claimant must cooperate fully with law enforcement officials, state attorney's office, and the Attorney General's Office.
- Crime incident must be reported to law enforcement within three days after it happened, unless there is good reason for reporting it later.
- Claim must be filed within one year after the date of the crime, but the filing time can be extended to two years when there is a good reason for not filing within one year. Exceptions are made for minor victims.
- Victim must not have contributed to the circumstances that caused the crime, injury or death.
- Victim Compensation: Victim must have suffered a physical, psychiatric or psychological injury or death as a result of the crime. (Exceptions may apply.)
- Property Loss: Victim who is an elderly person 60 years of age or older or a disabled adult who suffers a loss of tangible personal property as a result of a criminal or delinquent act may receive up to $500 property loss reimbursement.
- Domestic Violence Relocation Assistance: Victims who need immediate assistance to escape from a domestic violence environment may receive up to $1,500 on any one claim; requires certification by a certified domestic violence center.
- Criminal history record check will be performed through the Florida Crime Information Center for all victims and claimants. The claimant cannot be a convicted felon.
Please contact the Port Orange Police Department Victim Advocate Office for assistance with the Victim Compensation Claim Form.
Who can I talk to?
PORT ORANGE POLICE DEPARTMENT
VICTIM ADVOCATE OFFICE
4545 Clyde Morris Avenue
Port Orange, FL 32127
DOMESTIC ABUSE CENTER
Post Office Box 142
Daytona Beach, FL 32115
NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE
NATIONAL CHILD ABUSE HOTLINE
(Help line providing crisis counseling, information and referrals)
DAYTONA BEACH COURT ANNEX
CLERK OF THE COURT
125 East Orange Avenue, Room #308
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Main Phone: 386-257-6083
RAPE CRISIS CENTER
Post Office Box 63
Daytona Beach, FL 32115
FLORIDA DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE
FLORIDA CHILD ABUSE HOTLINE
(To file confidential reports of child abuse)