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Legal Advocacy

24-Hour Crisis Hotline: 706.736.2499

 

Navigating the legal system can be intimidating for someone who is undergoing a great deal of emotional stress and trauma. We are here to help by accompanying clients to court, assisting them with paperwork for Temporary Protective Orders and following up on their behalf until the process is complete. A "relationship" includes individuals who are married, parents of the same child or live at the same residence.

What is a TPO?
A TPO stands for Temporary Protective Order.  To qualify, victims must be in immediate danger of physical abuse by someone who they have/had "a relationship" with and has a history of battery, simple battery, simple assault, stalking, criminal damage to property, unlawful restraint or criminal trespassing or terroristic threats. 

This is a twelve month order, signed by a judge that requires the abuser to:

  • Stop any abuse.
  • Remain at least 500 yards from the victim and their children (if children are included in the order)
  • Refrain from harrasing the victim or contacting the victim by mail, phone, social media/digital communication or in person
  • Pay a required amount to help support any children.

*In the case of a victim moving, a TPO can help the victim gather their belongings from the home where the victim and abuser were staying together, with the assistance of local law enforcement.

How do I obtain a TPO?

  • First, the victim must complete TPO paperwork.  This can be with the assistance of a Legal Advocate at SafeHomes if desired.
  • Then, the legal advocate and the victim will go before a judge to get a 30-day order signed. 
  • Within 30 days, the victim returns to court, along with the legal advocate and/or their attorney (if one can be hired by the victim).  The abuser may also be present along with their attorney.  Any evidence or witnesses can also be present in order to help support the case.
  • Once the judge has heard from both parties, they will determine whether or not to extend the order for 12 months, or to dismiss the case.

What if the abuser disobeys the TPO?

  • The abuser could be charged with aggravated stalking.
  • A warrant could be put out for their arrest and they could face up to a $10,000 fine and up to 10 years in jail.

*If the victim fears the abuser is violating the TPO, it is important the victim contacts the police immediately to file a police report.

In 2016, SafeHomes assisted 313 individuals with successfully obtaining a Temporary Protective Order.
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