What if I am a victim of family violence?
It is a crime for any person to cause you any physical injury or harm, even if that person is a member of your family or former member of your family or household.
You have the right to:
Ask the Police Department to file a criminal complaint against the person committing family violence, and APPLY to a court for an order to protect you. The purpose of the protective order is to keep the abuser away from your home, place of work, or child's school or daycare. You need not be present when the order is issued.
For example, the court can enter an order that:
- The abuser not commit further acts of violence
- The abuser not threaten, harass you, either directly or indirectly, by communicating the threat through another person
- Directs the abuser to leave your household
Inform the investigating peace officer
- If your child, or any other household resident have been injured
- If you feel you are going to be in danger later or when the officer leaves
What is a protective order?
A protective order is a civil court order giving police the authority to make arrests for civil violations. Protective orders can be issued in cases involving family violence, dating violence, aggravated sexual assault, and sexual assault.
Family Violence means the intentional use or threat of physical force by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household.
Family includes blood relatives or relatives by marriage, former spouses, parents (married or not) of the same child, foster parents and foster children, or any other member or former member of a household.
Household means persons living together at the same residence, whether or not they are related to each other.
Dating Violence means an act by an individual that is against another individual with whom that person has or has had a dating relationship and that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault or sexual assault, or that is a threat that reasonably places the individual in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect one-self.
How do I obtain a protective order?
Good for less than 91 days:
You may be able to obtain an Emergency Protective Order if the abuser is arrested and in custody. At the time the suspect is arraigned, the Judge may grant an Emergency Protective Order either at the request of a Peace Officer or the victim. If you want an Emergency Protective Order, tell the arresting officer and they will help you apply for one. If the officer has left the scene, re-contact the police department and request an Emergency Protective Order. This type of Protective Order is only good for 31-91 days.
Good for up to 2 years:
You may obtain a District Attorney's Two Year Protective Order by filling in an application with a Family Law Court in Tarrant County. You can contact the protective order unit of the District Attorney's Office to determine if that office can represent you. This type of Protective Order may be in effect for up to 2 years. It may take several weeks to get a final Protective Order. You may contact the HEB Victims Assistance Program or one of the women's shelters if you have questions or need help in applying for a Protective Order, or with help in planning for your safety in the meantime.
Will a Protective Order prevent violence?
Both types of Protective Orders can deter violence and provide the police and courts additional authority to intervene in family violence cases and to punish those who commit family violence, but it is not a shield that truly stops the next violent act from occurring. Most violent relationships become more dangerous and more violent over time, not less violent. If you feel you are in danger, please contact one of the resources listed for further information about your options.
No one deserves to be hurt.