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Domestic Violence

“If you try to leave me, I’ll…” Threats in Domestic Violence

Often times, abusers will use threats to keep a victim of domestic violence from trying to leave the relationship.

Common threats that survivors have told us they have heard from their abusive partners include threats to  –

  • Abduct the children or seek sole custody
  • Get the victim fired from their workplace
  • Have the victim deported or destroy their immigration documents
  • Harm the family pet
  • Destroy any property or possessions left behind
  • “Out” the victim to coworkers or family members 
  • Commit suicide or other self-harm
  • Become more physically violent or kill the victim

It is important to remember that no one deserves to be or enjoys being abused and that leaving a violent relationship is the most dangerous time for the victim. Abusers often feel very much out of control at this point and tend to retaliate and become more violent as a result. Statistically, this time is the most dangerous for victims:

75% of women who are killed as the result of a violent relationship are killed after the relationship has ended.

The fear felt by many victims of domestic violence is why emergency shelter like Peace at Home Family Shelter is so crucial.

If your partner is threatening you to keep you in the relationship, we can help.

Find a safe phone and contact us at 479-442-9811 and remember to always call 911 if there is an emergency or you feel your life is in danger.

Domestic Violence and Housing – Your Rights

In Arkansas, a landlord cannot:

  • refuse to enter into a rental agreement,
  • terminate a lease,
  • fail to renew a lease, or
  • evict a tenant

if their decision is based solely on the fact that the tenant has been a victim of domestic violence.

In addition to anti-discrimination laws, Arkansas rental laws provide the following protections for tenants who are survivors of domestic abuse:

  • Changing Locks

Tenants who have been victims of domestic violence are entitled to have their locks changed, at their expense, as long as they notify the landlord and provide them with a new key.

  • Damages

Landlords can seek damages from the abuser caused by an incident of domestic abuse and for any unpaid rent owed by the abuser.

  • Law Enforcement

Landlords cannot prohibit or penalize tenants for calling the police or emergency services in a domestic violence situation.

  • Court Order

If the court orders the abuser to stay away from a victim, and the abuser lives in the same house as the victim, the landlord can evict the abuser or forbid them from coming into the home.

If you are a domestic violence survivor and you are facing a housing issue, you do not have to go through the process alone. Peace at Home’s legal department can help you find legal representation, accompany you to the court hearing, and help you develop a safety plan. Call 479.442.9811 to speak with an advocate about legal services.

Domestic Violence and Child Custody FAQ

Child custody issues come up frequently when survivors of domestic violence leave the abusive relationship. Below are some of the most common questions we receive about child custody. Contact our legal department today at 479-442-9811 if you have additional questions or need legal representation.

Can an abusive parent get custody or visitation?

An abusive parent may be allowed custody or visitation if the judge believes you and your children can stay safe. To ensure this, the judge can require supervised visits or arrange for the pick-up and drop-off of your children to take place in a protected space.

If the judge does not believe you or your children are still in danger, he/she may order custody or visitation without any protective measures. As a result, it is important the judge believes you when you talk about the violence. You may want to keep evidence of the violence ready, if you have any.

If you feel there is a risk of violence, you can ask the judge:

  • For pick-up and drop-off of your children to happen in a protected place
  • To allow someone other than you to deliver or pick-up the children for visits
  • To allow only email contact between the parents

How does a judge make decisions about custody?

The judge will always look to the child’s best interests. So if you are filing for custody, you should be able to show how the custody arrangement you want is in your child’s best interests. To do this, you should be prepared with as much information as possible about yourself and the other parent. If you are accusing the other parent of abuse, the judge will look at the abuser’s history of causing such injury, physical harm, assault, or causing reasonable fear of injury, physical harm, and assault to another person.

A judge may look at a history of drug or alcohol abuse and order testing for either or both parents. If the child is of a sufficient age and mental capacity, the judge can also consider the preferences of the child.

What is mediation?

Mediation uses a neutral third-party to help parents agree on issues relating to custody and visitation of the child. The court may order you to take part in mediation.

You should talk to a lawyer or domestic violence advocate before going to mediation, or have a lawyer go with you if you can. Your abuser may use mediation as an opportunity for further control and abuse, and he/she may intimidate you into thinking an agreement is reasonable when it may not be. A lawyer and/or victim advocate can help you prepare for this.

How can Peace at Home help?

If you have experienced domestic violence and are going through a custody dispute with your abuser, you do not have to go through the process alone.  Peace at Home’s legal department can help you acquire legal representation, accompany you to the court hearing, provide you with emotional support, and help you develop a safety plan. Call 479.442.9811 to speak with an advocate about our legal services.


The Importance of Safe Housing for Survivors of Domestic Violence

 

 

Survivors of domestic violence encounter many barriers when they choose to leave their abusive partner. Safe, affordable housing has become one of the primary obstacles that survivors face when seeking freedom and protection from their abuser.

The barriers that keep survivors of domestic violence from obtaining and maintaining safe housing often remain after the survivor has left the abusive relationship. There are many types of controlling abuse that a survivor can be exposed to during intimate partner violence, including financial abuse, emotional abuse, and isolation, all of which can delay survivors from finding housing and maintaining it.

Individuals who have experienced financial abuse may lack financial education as well as resources, which can make it that much more difficult for the survivor to leave. If someone has been isolated, another tactic used in domestic violence, they may lack a support system to assist them in leaving the abusive partner.

Evictions, criminal records, mental health, and other barriers can all stem from an abusive relationship, limiting his or her housing options.

Emergency shelter and transitional housing are critical for survivors to safely escape abusive relationships. The most dangerous time for a survivor of domestic violence is when they are leaving their abusive partner, or soon after; the intensified fear experienced during this time, in addition to the lack of support and resources to obtain and maintain housing, can lead a survivor to extreme danger or homelessness.

It’s critical that this need for housing is observed through a lens of trauma and healing. Survivors of domestic violence need safe, stable housing in order to recover from the abuse they have experienced and move forward in life.

If you or someone you know needs help getting out of domestic violence, please contact Peace at Home at 479.444.9811.

What is an Order of Protection?

If you have experienced domestic violence, an order of protection can play an important role in helping you achieve safety, security, and peace of mind.

 

What is an order of protection? 

An order of protection is a civil court order that protects victims of domestic violence from abusive family or household members.  Specifically, the order prevents abusers from having any contact whatsoever with their victims.  There are two types of orders of protection: temporary orders and final orders, which are discussed in more detail below.

 

Who can apply for an order of protection?

If you have experienced domestic abuse, you are eligible to apply for an order of protection.   Domestic abuse is defined by Arkansas law as “physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault between family or household members.” It also includes any criminal sexual conduct between family or household members.

 

The term, “family or household members,” is defined very broadly under Arkansas law.  It includes spouses, former spouses, parents, children, people related by blood within four degrees, any children living in the home, people who live together or used to live together, people who have had a child together, and people who are dating or who used to date.

 

What are the steps for getting an order of protection?

To obtain an order of protection, you must first go to the circuit clerk’s office in the county where you live, where your abuser lives, or where the abuse occurred, and fill out a petition for a temporary order of protection.

The next step is for a judge to be assigned to the case and for the judge to read the petition.  If the judge believes there has been abuse or that there is danger of future abuse, he or she will grant a temporary order of protection.  The judge will also set a date for a court hearing to determine whether to make the temporary order of protection a final order of protection.

 

At the court hearing, both you and your abuser will have an opportunity to tell your side of the story and present any evidence you may have.  Once the judge has heard both sides, he or she will decide whether to grant a final order of protection.  A final order of protection can last anywhere from 90 days to 10 years.  If your abuser violates the order, he or she can face arrest, fines, and jail time.

 

How well do protection orders work?

While protection orders can play an important role in reducing your risk of future abuse, they cannot absolutely guarantee your safety.  Some abusers may obey the order to avoid legal repercussions, while others may treat the order as nothing more than a piece of paper.  Ultimately, you know your abuser best and whether or not an order of protection would be likely to prevent him or her from harassing, threatening, or abusing you in the future.

 

How can Peace at Home help?

If you decide to file for an order of protection, you do not have to go through the process alone.  Peace at Home’s legal department can assist you in filing for an order of protection, accompany you to the court hearing, provide you with legal representation, and help you develop a safety plan. Call 479.442.9811 to speak with an advocate about legal services.