Domestic Violence Issues

Domestic Violence, Restraining Orders and Stalking Orders

Every person has a right to be safe in their home and be free from abuse. If you are a victim of domestic violence, there are several laws that are available to protect you.

If the threat of violence is immediate, call 911 now. Oregon law requires that if an officer has probable cause to believe that a person has been abused, they must make an arrest on the spot.

Also, you can get a restraining against the abuser, which is an order from a judge that tells the person who abused you that they cannot hurt you anymore and must leave you alone. To get a restraining order, you must go to the courthouse of the county in which you or the abuser lives. You can complete the forms on your own. In most counties, the court clerk or a volunteer may be available to assist you, or you can seek the assistance of an attorney.

To qualify for a restraining order you must have been married or sexually intimate with your abuser, related by blood, marriage, adoption, living together or have had a child together outside of marriage. If you have satisfied the relationship requirement, you will also need to show that some form of abuse or threat of abuse occurred within the last six months. You must also be in fear of future abuse. The abuse must involve physical violence or serious threat of imminent violence.

In the petition for the restraining order, you may indicate locations you want the abuser to stay away from, including your home and work. You can also request temporary custody of your children and ask that restrictions on visitation of mutual children be imposed. The other party has the right to appeal any part of the restraining order and have a hearing before a judge. If you do not appear at the hearing, the restraining order may be dismissed.

You can obtain a stalking protective order if someone has engaged in repeated and unwanted contact that alarms or coerces you or members of your immediate family or household, which causes you to fear for your personal safety. A stalking order may be obtained by contacting a local law enforcement agency or at your county courthouse. A law enforcement officer can serve the stalker with a citation, ordering that person to appear in court to show why a stalking order should not be issued. The Department of State Police have developed a form for a stalking complaint.

There are no charges or filing fees for obtaining a restraining order or a stalking protective order.

In addition to restraining and stalking orders, victims of domestic violence can also sue their abuser and obtain monetary damages. It is always a good idea to obtain professional legal advice about restraining orders and stalking orders.

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Resources and Contacts

In the last few years, much attention has been focused on domestic violence. As a result, the number of resources to help families has grown.

You should always call 911 if there is an immediate threat of violence. Other resources in the Portland metropolitan area include the Portland Police Domestic Violence Reduction Unit at (503) 823-0961. The Portland Women's Crisis Line has referrals for counseling and support groups and can also help women and children find immediate emergency shelter. Their number is (503) 235-5333.

Other resources you may want to contact include women's shelters, Adult and Family Services, child abuse reporting hotlines, United Way information and referral, Batterers Intervention Project and the Men's Resource Center.

Legal services include information at your local courthouse, your local district attorney's domestic violence prosecutors, and the victims' assistance program.

If you are attempting to defend a restraining order or are contemplating one, you should obtain professional legal advice.

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Kramer & Associates
520 SW Sixth Avenue
Cascade Building #1010
Portland, Oregon 97204