CCSO Cares About You.
The Collier County Sheriff ’s Office Domestic Abuse Response Team (D.A.R.T.) consists of trained victim advocates and detectives who understand the dynamics of family violence and understand the fear you are feeling.
We understand the reasons victims stay in abusive relationships, and will work with you on finding options to suit your situation. Our advocates can provide transportation to safety, crisis intervention, support, referrals to community agencies, court accompaniment and personal advocacy. Please call 239-252-0230 if you would like to talk to an advocate.
What is Domestic Violence?
Under the provisions of Section 741.28 of the Florida Statutes, domestic violence means any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member. If family or household members are spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as a family or who have resided together in the past as a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married. With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INCLUDES:
- Physical Abuse – pushing, slapping, kicking, punching, choking and beating;
- Emotional and Verbal Abuse – verbal intimidation, credible threats, following and stalking, acting out in anger.
- Sexual Abuse or Battery - any unwanted touching or forcing of someone to engage in a sexual act against his or her will.
It is Against the Law If you are being physically or sexually abused by a family or household member with whom you live or have ever lived or by someone you share a child with, you are a victim of domestic violence. There are laws to protect you!
What Does the Law Mean?
You have the right to ask the State Attorney to file a criminal complaint and you have the right to go to court and file a petition requesting an injunction for protection if you are:
- The victim of domestic violence, repeat violence, dating violence, sexual violence or stalking.
- The parent of any minor child living at home who is seeking an injunction for protection against domestic violence, repeat violence, dating violence, sexual violence or stalking.
- If you have reasonable cause to believe you or your minor child is in imminent danger of becoming the victim of any act of domestic violence. This may include, but need not be limited to provisions that:
- Direct the abuser to leave your household.
- Restrain the abuser from any contact or further acts of abuse as a “no contact” condition of pretrial release, which will prevent the abuser from being within 500 feet of your residence, vehicle, school, business, or place of employment.
- Award you custody of your minor child or children.
Direct the abuser to pay support to you and the minor child or children. For safety reasons you may furnish your address to the court in a separate confidential filing when filing the petition for injunction. You are not required to remain in a residence or household where you are a victim of domestic violence. Your address may be different from that of your partner without penalty.
How Can the Law Help Me?
If you have been a victim of domestic violence, repeat violence, dating violence, sexual violence or stalking or if you are afraid that you will be hurt, Florida’s domestic violence law enables you to work with the court system to help keep you safe. Contact the Shelter for Abused Women and Children (239-775-1101) for safety planning prior to filing for an injunction.
The Clerk of the Court is required to assist you in both injunctions for protection and enforcement for a violation of an injunction. Representation by an attorney is not required of either party as per Section 741.30(1) (f) of the Florida Statutes. Go to the Collier County Clerk of the Court in the courthouse.
Bring the following: Identification, information about where the abuser can be located and any papers relating to your case.
Tell the clerk you are interested in filing an injunction for protection against domestic violence, repeat violence, dating violence, sexual violence or stalking. They will ensure you complete the proper paperwork. You will be explaining to the judge exactly what type of protection you need and from whom you need protection. After you have completed the paperwork the court may order a temporary injunction, which is good for 15 days. Then a full hearing is held to consider your safety and the safety of the children. Th e abuser must be served with the injunction before it becomes effective. It will tell the abuser what the judge requires and when to return to court for a hearing within 15 days unless the abuser cannot be served.
You are able to request notification of service of the injunction and receive notice within 12 hours once it is served. It is important for you to attend the hearing so the judge can understand what help you need and why. If you do not attend, usually the judge will end the injunction. Aft er the hearing a final injunction may be granted. Th e injunction will be valid until dissolved or amended by the court. You will receive a copy of the injunction. Keep it with you at all times!
What do I do if the Abuser Violates the Injunction?
Contact the police or sheriff ’s office right away and show them the certified copy of the injunction for protection. In some cases the deputy will arrest the abuser and they will be held until the court determines bail. You may go to court if you wish. If an arrest cannot be made a report will be completed and turned over to the Domestic Violence Unit for investigation.
Tips to Keep Yourself Safe
- Call 911 if you do not feel safe.
- You have the right to protect yourself until you are out of danger.
- If an argument seems unavoidable, try to stay in