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Domestic Violence is a pattern of coercive behavior used to maintain power and control in a relationship. This abuse can be physical, sexual, or emotional. Besides relatives, a "relationship" can include anyone you currently live with, have lived within the past, or anyone you are or used to be intimately involved with.
Facts About Domestic Violence
- In a national survey of over 6,000 American families, 50 % of the men who frequently assaulted their wives also frequently abuse their children.
- Child abuse is 15 times more likely to occur in families where Domestic Violence is present.
- Men who have witnesses their parent's Domestic Violence are three times more likely to abuse their own wives than children of non-violent parents. The sons of the most violent parents are 1000 times more likely to become wife beaters.
- Children who witness violence at home display emotional and behavioral disturbances as diverse as withdrawal, low self esteem, nightmares, self blame, and aggression against peers, family members and property.
- A comparison of delinquent youth found that a history of family violence or abuse is the most significant difference between the two groups.
- Over 3 million children are at risk of exposure to parental violence each year.
- Older persons are battered also. Two/Thirds of elder domestic abuse and neglect are women with more than half of all reported elder abuse reportedly caused by a family member.
- In West Virginia, a domestic homicide occurs every ten days.
- In West Virginia, one woman is raped every day.
- In West Virginia, thirty-three percent of all murders are Domestic Violence related.
- The State of West Virginia ranks second highest in the nation for Domestic Violence incidents.
- No one has the right to batter or abuse you.
Domestic Violence Protection Order
If you are a victim of Domestic Violence, one action you may consider is to file a Protection Order in Magistrate Court. A Domestic Violence Protection Order is a civil order that can:
- Order the abuser not to hurt or harass you;
- Give you temporary custody of your children;
- Give you temporary possession of your residence;
- Order child and spouse support;
- Order the abuser to stay away from your place of employment and away from your children's school.
How to get an Emergency Protection Order
- Go to the Marshall County Magistrate Court (511 Sixth St., Moundsville) and tell the clerk that you want to file a petition for an Emergency Domestic Violence Protection Order.
- Explain your need for protection to the clerk and ask for help in completing the forms required. You do not need witnesses, an attorney, or a police report to file. Filing for a Family Protection Order is free.
- You will be expected to initial all statements that are true; describe the violence you abuser threatened to do or did; and initial what action you want the court to take.
- After completing the forms, you will meet with a Magistrate. Try to explain the exact time, date, and extent of your injuries and why you fear the abuser. If an Emergency Order is granted you will receive a copy of the order, and the abuser will be served with an order to appear before the Family Court Judge within 10 days.
- At the second hearing, the Family Court Judge will listen and question both you and the abuser. Be
- prepared to tell the judge when, where and with what you were beaten and why you are afraid of the abuser.
- If you have any witnesses, take then to court with you. The judge will then decide whether to issue a Final Family Protection Order that could last up to 180 days. (This may be extended if you file for divorce before the order expires)
- Keep a certified copy of the Family Protection Order with you at all times. A valid protection order is effective in every county in West Virginia and every state in the United States.
- If the abuser breaks the Family Protection Order, call the police to file a complaint charge.
The police can file criminal charges of either Domestic Assault (threats or attempts of physical abuse) or Domestic Battery (actual physical contact) when probable cause exists that a crime has occurred. The police do not have to witness the crime to file said charges. This is a separate proceeding from that of a Domestic Violence Petition and can only be dismissed prior to a hearing by a motion from the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney.
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