Domestic Violence is a Crime
Thousands of battered women's programs across the country work to provide emergency shelter and other services for violent families. In Idaho, there are 24 such programs with a variety of services. If someone at home is hurting you, join the many people who are now saying "NO MORE" and getting help.
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.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, you should consider reporting the violence to the police, and you should seek assistance through resources in your community. You also have the right to file a petition in magistrate court requesting an order of protection from domestic abuse.
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 section 39-6302). The law protects spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who live or have lived together, and persons who have had a child in common, whether they have been married or have ever lived together. A protection order is issued by a court in domestic violence or abuse cases to, for example, protect a person from physical harm by a spouse or a child from abuse by parent(s). Such an order may be granted immediately by a court in cases where immediate and present danger of violence or abuse is shown. Such emergency orders are granted in an ex parte type of proceeding and are temporary until a full hearing in front of a judge can be held with all parties involved.
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
Violation of a protection order is serious and is punishable by up to one (1) year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
How Do I Get A Protection Order?
A 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. The "petition" is a legal document. It is important that you understand that you are under oath and that you must tell the truth when filling it out. The protection order form as well as other related forms are also available on-line through the Idaho Self-Help Center.
How Do I Fill Out the Form?
Don't let the form scare you. A lot of information is required by the law to seek protection. Answer the questions as completely as you can in your own words. The person who fills out the form, usually you--the victim, is called the “petitioner.” The person the victim needs protection from is called the “respondent.” The petition can be filed in the county where you live, where you are temporarily living, or where the respondent is living. The most important part is to explain in your own words why you believe you will be hurt. Explain how you have been hurt. BE SPECIFIC about violent acts or threats. Include dates, places, injuries, and if children have been present. If a weapon was used, write down the type of weapon. Write everything you can about the 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, write this on the form. If you need assistance filling out the form, ask for help. After you have completed the form, return it to the clerk.
What Happens Next?
The clerk will give the form to the judge. 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 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 deliver a copy to the person who abused you. It is very important that you read the entire protection order and that you follow the instructions given by the judge during the hearing and on the written order.
Always Keep a 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. If you are granted a protection order, it is usually for 90 days and can be renewed for one-year periods if you need more protection. If you do need to have it renewed, remember to do this before it expires. You can also apply for a change in this order at any time. If a motion is filed and the judge finds that good cause has been shown, the judge may extend the protection order for an appropriate period of time or may make it permanent. A protection order may be modified or terminated upon a motion and after a hearing or upon stipulation of the parties.
Once a judge has issued a protection order to you and the respondent is served with notice of the protection order, it is then against the law to violate any part of the protection order. Call the emergency #911 or your law enforcement number and report any 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.
No Contact Orders
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. In most cases, the No Contact Order will order the arrested person to stay away from you until the No Contact Order is removed by a judge. This same order may require the arrested person to stay away from your children, your place of work, and your children's schools, and you should also not attempt to contact the arrested person. 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. It will also give you time to ask for a temporary protection order from the Magistrate Court.
The resources available in Idaho for information related to domestic violence and places of safety and shelters are listed below. Shelters provide food, shelter, clothing, and referral service 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 individuals needing shelter for longer periods of time 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, damages to your property, and other out-of-pocket expenses. This can be done without an attorney in small claims court if the total amount claimed is under $3,000.
You may be eligible for victim's compensation. Call 1-800-950-2110 for further information. This fund can directly reimburse victims of crime for related medical and counseling expenses that are not covered by other resources.
If you need child support, call your local Department of Health & Welfare and ask for the child support enforcement office. You may be eligible to receive financial help (Idaho Code section 32-706).
Helpful Resources and Links
- Idaho Council on Domestic Violence and Victim Assistance
- Idaho Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence
- Ada County Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Court Participant Handbook
- Domestic Violence Unit of the Ada County Prosecuting Attorney's Office
- Boise Women's and Children's Alliance Crisis Center (WCA)
- Family Advocacy Center and Education Services (FACES)
- Idaho Legal Aid Services