If You’re a Victim of Domestic Violence

There is help for you

Domestic violence is unfortunately too common an occurrence. If you are a victim of this crime, there is help available for you.

First, domestic violence in Tennessee is defined as intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly committing one of the following against a family or household member:

  • Causing bodily injury to the victim
  • Causing the victim to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury
  • Causing physical contact that a reasonable person would regard as extremely offensive or provocative

If you are, or have been, the victim of domestic violence, report it to the police right away. If the situation is imminent, call 911.

Once the perpetrator has been arrested, a court date is set. If the person is in jail, the court date happens quite quickly, usually within five days after the arrest. If the perpetrator has made bond and is released from jail, you are notified of the court date. Once you report the incident, you aren’t allowed to change your mind and drop the charges on your own. It is the district attorney’s decision whether to pursue criminal charges at that point.

Your attorney can help you with the court hearing. If you are subpoenaed, you are required to attend the court hearing. Your attorney may advise you to bring along photos of your injuries and damage to your property, phone records detailing the harassing nature of the calls, witnesses to verify your version of the events, and any other evidence that may help the district attorney prove the charges.

Consider hiring a domestic abuse attorney to file for an order of protection. It’s helpful to have an attorney assist you because at the hearing on the order of protection, the judge also has the authority to determine child support, visitation, child custody, and spousal support. Your attorney protects your rights at the hearing.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, reach out and get help. There are many resources to support you and keep you safe.