Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Unit

Domestic violence is a term that covers many types of acts committed by a current or former intimate partner against another, or within a family. It can take the form of physical violence, sexual abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, financial abuse, or other controlling behavior. It can include threats, such as threatening to commit suicide or take the children away from the victim. Victims of domestic violence can be of any age, racial or cultural background, education level, financial level, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.

The most difficult step for you to take is to admit that you are being or have been abused by your partner. Remember, your partner’s violence is the problem, not you. You do not provoke it. You do not deserve it.

The physical and emotional suffering you experience may have long- and short-term effects. The suffering may seem to use up all your energy. You may feel trapped, alone, and that you have lost control of your life. You may question yourself and your reactions. Regardless of your reactions, it is important to remember that every victim is different, as is every response to domestic violence. The reactions you are having to your abuse are normal.

Your safety is the first priority. Every person in an abusive relationship should have a safety plan—concrete steps you can take to stay safe or to get to a safe place if you or your family is in danger. Domestic violence shelters and advocates in your community can help you develop a safety plan that is tailored for your individual situation. The people closest to you can be part of your safety plan. Let trusted friends and family members know about your situation, unless doing so will endanger you in any way. Know where to get help. Tell someone what is happening to you.

Remember, as a domestic violence victim, you are not alone. Do not lose hope.

Unit Responsibility
The responsibility of the Domestic Violence Unit is to investigate domestic violence cases, assist victims of domestic violence, hold suspects accountable for their criminal actions based on probable cause and to work toward the prevention of domestic violence. This will be accomplished by using proactive police tactics, problem-solving techniques, community education and by partnerships with community agencies that provide assistance to victims and their families.

Some of the offenses that our Domestic Violence Unit handles include but are not limited to: Felony Assaults, Assault by Strangulation, Assault by Pointing a Gun, Stalking/Cyberstalking, 1st & 2nd Degree Kidnappings, Felonious Restraint, Restraining Order Violations, and Habitual Misdemeanor Assault Cases.

The Domestic Violence Unit focuses primarily on Intimate Partner Violence where the relationship between the victim and the suspect is that of a current or former spouse or a current or former dating partner.

The Domestic Violence Unit is made up of one sergeant, six detectives, and four victim advocates. Detectives and victim advocates work in a coordinated effort to utilize available community resources to assist victims of domestic violence in breaking the cycle of abuse.

What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic Violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse. Domestic Violence affects individuals in every community regardless of age, gender, race, economic status, sexual orientation, religion, or nationality. It affects millions of people in the United States each year. Nationally, it is reported that one in four women and one in seven men have been victims of severe physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime. On average, nearly twenty people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. In one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.

Warning Signs
Common signs of abusive behavior in a partner might include:
  • Destroying your belongings in your home.
  • Threatening you with weapons like guns, knives, or bats.
  • Insulting your parenting or making threats to harm or take away your children or pets.
  • Intimidating you through threatening looks or gestures.
  • Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol.
  • Pressuring you to have sex or perform sexual acts that you are not comfortable with.
  • Controlling household finances without discussion, including taking your money or refusing to provide money for necessary expenses.
  • Preventing you from working or attending school.
  • Insulting, demeaning, or shaming you in, especially in front of other people.
  • Preventing you or keeping you from spending time with friends and family.
  • Showing extreme jealousy of time spent with friends away from them.
  • Telling you that you never do anything right.

Safety Planning Considerations

Safety During an Argument
  • Stay in an area with an exit and avoid letting the other person get between you and the exit.
  • Practice getting out of your home safely.
  • Avoid rooms with weapons, such as the kitchen.
  • Have emergency 911 phones hidden throughout the home.
  • Tell trustworthy neighbors about the violence. Ask them to call the police if they hear or see any disturbance.
  • Devise a code word or signal to use with your children, family, friends, and trustworthy neighbors when you need the police.
  • Trust your instincts and judgment. You have the right to protect yourself until you are out of danger.

Safety When Preparing to Leave
  • Establish your independence. Open savings and credit card accounts in your name only and specifically instruct institutions that your partner is not to have access.
  • Leave money, extra keys, copies of important documents, extra medicine and clothes with someone you trust so you can leave quickly.
  • Determine safe people you can stay with and plan leaving with.
  • Review and rehearse your safety plan.
  • Keep a packed bag at a trusted relative’s or friend’s home.
  • Plan where you will go if you have to leave.

Safety in Your Own Home
  • Change the locks on your doors. (Landlords are legally obligated to change locks under certain circumstances for victims of DV).
  • Install locks on your windows. (Renters check with your landlord first.)
  • Discuss and practice a safety plan with your children for when you are not with them.
  • Inform your children’s schools or caregivers who has permission to pick up your children.
  • Inform neighbors and landlord that your partner no longer lives with you and to call the police if they see him or her near your home.

Safety with a Restraining Order
  • Keep your protective order on you at all times, and give a copy to a trusted neighbor, friend or family member.
  • Call the police if your abuser violates the protective order.
  • Think of alternative ways to keep safe if the police do not respond right away.
  • Inform family, friends, neighbors and health care providers that you have a restraining order in effect.

Safety on the Job and in Public
  • Decide who at work you will inform of your situation, include building security.
  • Provide a photo of your abuser for quick identification.
  • Screen your telephone calls.
  • Devise a safety plan for leaving work, such as exiting through the back door.
  • Have someone escort you when leaving and wait with you until you are safely en route.
  • Use a variety of routes to go home.
  • Rehearse what you would do if something happened while going home, such as picking a safe place to go to.
  • Create a safety routine when you arrive home: checking your house and property, checking in with someone to let them know you are safe, etc.

Your Safety and Emotional Health
  • Identify who you can rely on for emotional support and feel free to call our local 24-Hour Crisis Line at 704-332-2513.
  • If you have to communicate with your abuser, determine the safest way to do so and avoid being alone with them.
  • Advocate for yourself and your needs. Find people and resources you can safely and openly talk to and ask for help. You are not alone, and you do not have to go through this by yourself.
  • Look into counseling and support groups that directly address your experiences and needs.
  • Find ways to care for yourself: exercise, make time to relax, create a safe environment, do things you enjoy, get as much support as you can.

Internet and Computer Safety
  • Remember that all computer and online activity may be monitored.
  • Abusers may monitor your emails and internet activity, if you are planning to flee to a particular location, don’t look at classified ads for jobs and apartments, bus tickets, etc. for that place.
  • It is safer to use a computer in a public library, at a trusted friend’s house, at an internet cafe, or any other public terminals.
  • Abusers may also track your activity and whereabouts through your cell phone; if you think there a chance this may be happening, take your phone into your provider, Apple store, or Best Buy Geek Squad and have it thoroughly checked.
  • If your phone has been compromised and you get a new one, do NOT update your phone from the cloud.

Checklist: What You Should Take When You Leave
Legal Papers
Restraining order/stalking order
Lease, rental agreement, house deed
Car registration
Health and life insurance cards
Divorce papers
Custody papers

House and car keys
Valuables, photos, etc.
Address book
Phone card/safety cell phone
Clothes, blankets, small toys for children
Clothes, hygiene necessities, etc. for yourself

Driver’s license
Children’s birth certificates
Social security card
Self-sufficiency/disability identification

Medical records for you and your children
Work permits/green card
(Modified from The Domestic Violence Resource Center,

Characteristics of Domestic Violence Victims

Emotional Warning Signs:
Do you…
___ experience depression?
___ have suicidal thoughts? 
___ feel emotionally distressed?
___ demonstrate dependency on the relationship? 
___ feel afraid? 

___ feel ashamed? 
___ feel defensive?
___ feel distrustful? 
___ feel panicky? 
___ act very cautious so as to avoid violence? 
___ often fear separation from your partner? 
___ feel helplessness? 
___ experience flashbacks of prior violent incidents? 
___ feel overwhelmed with emotion? 
___ feel irritable? 
___ become startled easily?
___ feel guilt or over responsibility?

Physical Warning Signs:
Do you…
___ have chronic medical complaints?
___ abuse alcohol?
___ abuse drugs?
___ overeat?
___ have a loss of appetite?
___ have anorexia?
___ have frequent headaches?
___ experience stomach ailments?
___ have high blood pressure?
___ have heart palpitations?
___ have allergic skin reactions?
___ have insomnia?
___ feel chronically fatigued?
___ feel anxious?

Social Warning Signs:
Do you…
___ avoid making eye contact or look down during conversation?
___ feel isolated (few/no friends or family members involved in your life)?
___ make excuses for your partner’s behavior?
___ minimize the assault?
___ deny the seriousness of the assault?
___ often defend your partner?
___ have limited freedom?
___ have to have your partner along if you want to see your friends or family?
___ feel you have to avoid attending school because you've been forbidden to do so?
___ feel alienated?
___ feel vulnerable?
___ feel socially isolation?
___ mistrust and dislike men?
___ feel humiliated?

Family Beliefs and Warning Signs:
Do you…
___ have strong traditional views about family unity?
___ believe in traditional sex/gender roles?
___ have a history of family violence?
___ not participate in decisions about the family?
___ feel bound by love and loyalty?

Self Concept Warning Signs
Do you…
___ have low self-esteem?
___ have a sense of worthlessness?
___ have self-doubt?
___ self-blame?
___ feel incompetent?
___ feel like a failure?
___ have self hatred?

Miscellaneous Warning Signs
Do you…
___ suffer at the hand of your abuser but deny your own anger and terror?
___ have financial difficulties?
___ maintain hope for change despite ongoing violence?
___ have a belief that if you can figure out how to make your partner happy the violence will stop?
___ take responsibility for the violence perpetrated against you?
___ get treated like a child by your partner?
___ not have a car or are forbidden to drive?
___ not work outside of the home?
___ not have any control over home finances?
___ become the subject of ridicule about family and/or friends?
___ often cannot think of a place to go if you left?
___ live in chronic fear?
___ experience decreased job performance?
___ feel trapped?

Crisis Intervention: An Escape Plan

No one knows your partner better than you do. What may seem like a simple glance or an offhand remark, you may understand to be a threat or warning sign. If you are afraid, you are probably right to feel that way. If you don't feel that you want to leave your partner at this point, that does not mean that you are bad, stupid, desire to be hurt or want to be made to feel badly. It does mean, however, that you must take extra special care to plan for a crisis situation. The fact is that violence gets progressively worse, and you must protect yourself accordingly. You need time to make decisions about your own life while also attempting to keep yourself violence-free.

The purpose of this plan is to help you recognize a pattern in your partner's behavior. If you can identify the clues that your partner provides as a situation escalates, you may be able to make preparations to leave—for however long you want—before you are hurt. Your experience is your best weapon and your sense of fear is your best tool. You do have choices, and escape may be possible, even temporarily. Whether or not you actually use this plan, having thought about it gives you power.

Safety Plan Checklist:
Although it might be difficult or upsetting, try to think carefully about four incidents when your partner became violent (if your partner has been physically violent less than three times, then think about other situations in which you were afraid):
  • the first incident
  • a typical incident
  • the worst or one of the worst incidents
  • the most recent incident

Remember Details:
Try to play through scenes slowly in your mind—don't focus on you but concentrate on and make notes of:
  • what your partner said (curses, lies, stories)
  • how your partner said it
  • tone of voice
  • ability to Listen
  • effects of drugs or alcohol
  • facial features (a certain look in your partner's eyes, a nervous twitch)
  • breathing
  • body posture

Where does the violence usually start?
Think about your surroundings.

Floor plan—draw a map:
While you may know your house well, if you are upset, frightened, hurried or injured it may be difficult to figure out an escape route. Take the time to actually draw a map, and make note of things you might need to do in order to get out. If you have young children, you must figure out the best way to grab and remove them. If they are older, a signal and a meeting place away from your partner should be agreed upon. Anticipate any problems by having at least two different escape routes planned as you would for a fire drill.

  • doors, windows, exits
  • baby or young children (how will you bring them with you)
  • older children (you may want to establish a code word or signal to let older children know that you are putting the plan into action)

Pack a bag with emergency items:
You may want to hide this bag under a bed, with a friend or at work. Things to remember:
  • prescriptions
  • extra house and car keys
  • birth certificates
  • cash
  • clothes, toiletries
  • important paperwork (bankbooks, checkbooks)
  • personal treasures or family heirlooms
  • pet supplies

Know locations and phone numbers of safe places:
  • police
  • family
  • friends
  • shelter
  • hotel

Remember when you were a child and they made you walk through fire drills over and over—just to be safe? Well do it again. Take some time when you will be alone or with any children who might need to know about your plan and rehearse. First, talk it out. Explain out loud what you will be looking for in his behavior, where you might expect to be, what you may hear and how it may make you feel. Then, talk out your actual route of escape—and have at least two. Next, trace that map with your finger. Finally, actually walk it out—two times or more until your body learns what to do without you having to think about it. While this may seem unnecessary, this plan could save your life.

Healthy / Unhealthy Relationship Characteristics

Unhealthy Relationships:
Using coercion and threats: Making and/or carrying out threats of hurting you; threatening to leave you, threatening to commit suicide or report you to welfare; making you drop charges; making you do illegal things.

Using intimidation: Making you afraid by using looks, actions, gestures; smashing things; destroying your property; abusing pets; displaying weapons.

Using emotional abuse: Putting you down; calling you names; playing mind games; humiliating you; making you feel guilty; making you think you're crazy; making you feel bad about yourself.

Using isolation: Controlling what you do, who you see and talk to, what you read, where you go; limiting your outside involvement; using jealousy to justify actions.

Minimizing, denying and blaming: Making light of the abuse and not taking your concerns about it seriously; saying the abuse didn't happen; shifting responsibility for abusive behavior, saying you caused it.

Using family and loved ones: Making you feel guilty about children; having family relay messages; using visitation to harass you; threatening to take the children away.

Abusing authority: Treating you like a servant; making all big decisions; acting like the "master of the castle"; being the one to define roles in the relationship.

Using economic abuse: Preventing you from getting or keeping a job; making you ask for money; giving you an allowance; taking your money; not letting you know about or have access to family income.

Healthy Relationships:
Negotiation and fairness: Seeking mutually satisfying resolutions to conflict; accepting change; being willing to compromise.

Non-threatening behavior: Talking and acting so that you feel safe and comfortable expressing yourself and doing things.

Respect: Listening to you non-judgmentally; being emotionally affirming and understanding; valuing opinions.

Trust and support: Supporting your goals in life; respecting your right to your own feelings, friends, activities and opinions.

Honesty and accountability: Accepting responsibility for self; acknowledging past use of violence; admitting being wrong; communicating openly and trustfully.

Responsible parenting: Sharing parental responsibilities; being a positive non-violent role model for the children.

Shared responsibility: Mutually agreeing on a fair distribution of work; making family decisions together.

Economic partnership: Making money decisions together; making sure both partners benefit from financial arrangements.

Signs of Unhealthy Boundaries

What Makes it Unhealthy?
  • telling all
  • talking at an intimate level on the first meeting
  • falling in love with a new acquaintance
  • falling in love with anyone who reaches out
  • being overwhelmed by a person; preoccupied
  • being sexual for partner, not self
  • going against personal values or rights to please others
  • not noticing when someone else displays inappropriate boundaries
  • not noticing when someone invades your boundaries
  • accepting food, gifts, touch, sex, that you don't want
  • touching someone without asking
  • taking as much as you can get for the sake of getting
  • giving as much as you can give for the sake of giving
  • allowing someone to take as much as they can from you
  • letting others direct your life
  • letting others describe your reality
  • lettings others define you
  • believing others can anticipate your needs
  • expecting others to fill your needs automatically
  • falling apart so someone will take care of you
  • self abuse
  • sexual and physical abuse
  • food abuse

Why Victims Stay
  • fear of harm to the victim or the children or other family members
  • love, loyalty, guilt, fear of retaliation, fear of being alone
  • fear of not finding a way to make a living
  • belief that their children need a father in the home
  • belief that the abusing partner cannot survive without her- the abusive partner may threaten to kill himself if she leaves

How Do I Know if Someone Will Become a Batterer?

You can never tell for sure, really. But there are some warning signs that can help you to identify controlling, potentially or already abusive personality traits before the situation escalates. The more characteristics that apply, the more urgent the danger. And remember, any act of control is an act of violence.

Check all that you recognize

___ Violent Home Life:
We are all products of our environments, in other words, we are copycats.
Seventy percent of people who grow up in families where they are abused (emotionally or physically) as children, or where they saw/heard one adult mistreating another grow up to repeat this behavior. It is not to say they are doomed to be bad, although they may feel that way. They have been raised to think that violence (verbal, psychological or physical) is normal. While they may grow up swearing that they will never behave "that" way. Control and violence are the only real methods of problem-solving they were ever taught. In addition, generally a negative relationship with or attitude towards a mother or father may very well lead to a harsh, degrading opinion of women or men in general. This may then be directed to all women or men.

___ Jealousy/Possessiveness:
Does your partner "keep tabs" on you or accuse you of flirting or cheating with other people? Does your partner become angry when you look at or speak with a member of the opposite sex or if you go out alone or with friends? Does your partner criticize your clothing and appearance and call you hurtful names?
The fact is that your partner's suspicions have nothing to do with your actions, but instead, center on your partner's own insecurities. Those same qualities which attracted your partner to you, will attract other people as well. No matter how much you reassure your partner, it is not really your loyalty or love that is in question. It is your partner's confidence in themselves.

___ Isolation:
Have you been distanced from your friends and family because of your relationship with your partner? Are your activities limited, or does your partner supervise/select your friends, entertainment and travel? Does it sometimes feel like you're being interrogated as to where, how, and with whom you spend your time?
Your partner's unwillingness to "let" you do something or achieve a goal of your own, as well as their criticisms of your loved ones are signs of your partner's insecurities. If you have a strong system of support outside of your partner, your partner cannot be "in charge" of everything because you are less likely to be dependent on your partner and more likely to hear criticism of your partner and of your partner's violence. If your partner can prevent that contact your partner can prevent you- and themselves- from hearing any negative things about their violent behavior. As your partner deprives you of all social support, your partner also reduces your ability to resist or to receive objective advice. Your partner's intense envy and seeming paranoia can leave you living in the "world according to your partner" without anyone else with whom to speak. Of course, if you know that avoiding friends and family will spare emotional or physical pain for you or your loved ones, you are more likely to withdraw from them. An outgoing person may become quiet and shy to avoid being yelled at and this loss of their sense of self may cause a person to become depressed, angry and alone. By degrading you and/or isolating you, your partner can control you.

___ Put Downs & Threats:
Does your partner put you down and threaten to leave? Does your partner walk away in the middle of arguments or give you the silent treatment?
Isolation works two ways. This second type of isolation is when your partner makes you feel unworthy of your partner's affection. Your partner may tell you that you are nothing without them, and even deny you the right to speak with them. Not only have you been separated from your family and friends, having become dependent upon your partner, your partner can withdraw or deny their affection, leaving you feeling rejected, desperate, scared and alone. You may even chase after your partner, or beg your partner not to leave. You do this because you believe you are somehow at fault and have become convinced that you cannot live without your partner, not because you are crazy or because you want to be hurt. These episodes only help to reinforce your feelings that your whole world may fall apart on your partner's whim. But you are someone special on your own and it's never your fault.

___ Quick Temper, Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde Personality:
Is your partner destructive when they get upset- punching walls or throwing things? Does your partner strike out over little things like dinner not being on time or burnt, or not finding a parking space? Is your partner cruel to animals? Does your partner have extreme mood swings- "a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde personality"- when your partner goes from extreme highs to extreme lows, or it seems that your partner almost has two different personalities?
Your partner's most likely not crazy, and they don't just "lose control." A person who is quick to overreact or become angry is someone who needs to have absolute control over their environment in order to be happy. In an intimate relationship, you are part of that environment, which means that your partner feels the need to control you as well. Moreover, seeing things destroyed can be terrifying and can scare you into acting as your partner wants you to. It may convey to you that the "cost" of resisting your partner may be more damaging to you (emotionally and/or physically) than simply doing as your partner wishes. If your partner were simply a violent person in general, they wouldn't reserve their violence exclusively for the home- where they are least likely to be punished for it. These behaviors may be a sign of a person who was learned to work out bad feelings through violence and should not be underestimated. And always remember that it is only your partner who can control or stop the violence- never you.

___ Minimizing/Denying/Blaming:
No matter what the situation or argument, is it somehow always your fault?
Consciously and/or unconsciously, your partner may find fault with you for anything and everything, even if it has absolutely nothing to do with the problem at hand. This may be especially true in situations where your partner knows that they have done wrong. It may be so painful for your partner to confront their own problems and shortcomings that, instead, your partner blames you for everything or criticizes your efforts to "do better". Manipulating you to feel responsible for the violence (by calling you names, degrading things you do or excusing their behavior by telling you that you deserved the abuse and/or made them behave as they did) allows your partner to avoid any real feelings of guilt or remorse.

Your partner may also make light of the abuse or of your feelings- minimizing the emotional or physical injury that they have caused, denying it ever happened, or making a joke out of your pain. Your partner may even try to explain away their behavior by saying that it wasn't assault or sexual abuse. You don't have to be bruised, bleeding or injured to have been assaulted: any physical contact that is meant to hurt, scare, or upset you is an assault, including spitting on you, twisting arms, shoving, slapping, punching, grabbing, demanding sex, tripping, grabbing hair and throwing objects. While no one is perfect, no one can ever do anything bad enough to deserve abuse; and you cannot make, force or drive someone to hurt you. Being physically and verbally violent is an independent choice your partner makes that has nothing to do with what you say or do. The fact is that you can never do "everything right" no matter how hard you try because the problem is not yours- it is your partner's.

___ Substance Abuse:
Does he abuse alcohol or other drugs regularly?
While the frequency and severity of your partner's violence may increase when your partner is using drugs or alcohol, it is important to understand that substance abuse does not cause your partner to be violent. Many people believe that a person may just be "a mean drunk" or that "if they just get help for their addiction, they'd change" - and indeed, in order for your partner to address their problem with violence, your partner does need to overcome their habit. The truth, though, is that use of any kind of drug is often another means that a person can use to feel that they are in control- the very same feeling your partner's trying to achieve by being violent towards you. Evidence of the fact that your partner is not "set off" merely by the alcohol or drugs is the fact that 80% of partners who are abusive are only violent in the home or with their family. They choose to act out where they are least likely to be held responsible for their actions. A partner who is violent and uses drugs or alcohol has two problems- not one.

___ Low Self Esteem:
Does your partner think poorly of themselves? Do they think too highly of themselves, acting cocky, thinking that they're right about everything? Does your partner try to "act macho" or tough? Does your partner put down the strengths and accomplishments of you, your family or your friends?
Any of these behaviors point to a low sense of self-esteem which simply means that your partner doesn't feel confident in themselves, so your partner needs to degrade and insult other people in order to feel better about their own insecurities. No matter how hard you try to make them feel good about themselves, you can't fix their negative feelings. They come from deep inside themselves., were likely present long before your partner met you and can only be made better by them.

___ Gender Roles:
Does you partner have very traditional ideas about what a man should be and what a woman should be? Does your partner have an almost fantasy approach to life, where women ought to be dependent, submissive, compliant, attractive and in the service of men- letting men be in charge? Does your partner think a "real man" is supposed to be the boss, the decision-maker, a dominant and macho person whose wife or girlfriend is to stay home and take care of her husband? In other words, does he act like women are second class citizens?
Someone who believes that men have the right and duty to "be in charge" may think it is his obligation to control you, punish you, or treat you like his possession. It is not. You are an independent person with the right to have and express your own thoughts, opinions and desires without judgment from anyone else.

___ Sexual Abuse:
Do you use sex to try to calm your partner down or prevent your partner from getting mad? Does your partner make demands of you, spit on you or ejaculate on you? Does your partner force you to have oral, vaginal or anal sex or threaten to leave you or hurt you if you don't? Has your partner made you have sex with other people or in ways that made you uncomfortable? Does you partner call you degrading names like "slut" and "whore?" Does your partner tell you that sex is the only thing you're good for or that you're a horrible lover?
Your partner may also make you feel that as their partner, it is your job to fulfill their sexual desires, fantasies or needs. It is not and this isn't just "rough sex." Your body is your own and you have no duty to anyone but yourself. Sex is not a job. Just because you are not screaming "no" does not mean you're not being raped or abused. Most abused partners report that their partners will demand certain sexual acts or will perform those acts regardless of their partner's feelings and expect them to respond as if they are enjoying it. Although it is the least talked about type of domestic violence, sexual abuse may be the worst in terms of physical and psychological pain.

___ Controlling/Dictatorial/Coercion & Threats:
Does your partner expect you to follow their orders or advice? Are there consequences if you don't? Does your partner become angry if you cannot anticipate their wishes?
Domestic violence really isn't about violence, it is about one person's need to have absolute control over another in order to feel better about themselves. Physical, sexual and verbal violence are not the core of the problem, they are the painful, very dangerous ways in which your partner tries to achieve and maintain control over you. Your partner may dictate what you wear, your make-up and hairstyle, your choice of friends, prevent you from getting or keeping a job, or give you an allowance. Others' points of view are not important. Your partner's opinions, attitudes, and beliefs must prevail. Basically, your partner is in charge of everything in the relationship. Your partner's manipulation of your behavior will take whatever form it needs to in order to control you- from yelling, to insults, to threats, to violence or suicide, to using the children…and it will always get worse.

You are not crazy! You are not making a big deal out of nothing. Believe in yourself.

Shelter Realities

Where is the shelter?
There are two shelters for women in Charlotte . One is the Salvation Army Women's Shelter (SAWS) that is located on Spratt St., the other one is The Shelter for Battered Women (SBW). The Shelter for Battered Women is at an undisclosed location for security reasons.

Which one should I stay at?
If security is your concern, you're a victim of domestic violence and you want a location that is kept a secret you should seek shelter at The Battered Women's Shelter.

How do I get there
SBW- A call must first be made to the shelter (332-2513) to verify that there is room at the shelter. You can then transport yourself to the shelter or you can call 911 and have an officer transport you if you don't have transportation to the shelter.

How do I know they'll allow me to be there?
SBW - Your call or an officer's call will verify whether there's space and whether the shelter will meet your needs.

Do they allow children there?
SBW - Yes. For those of you who are worried that your children may not like the shelter or you may not be able to have the resources available to you to take care of your children, please note that the shelter has cribs, diapers, food and toys etc… for children. There's a playground outside and a playroom inside.

What kinds of items do they have? What do I need to bring?
SBW - If you need to get to the shelter in a hurry and you can't pack items, the shelter can usually accommodate your needs. It's recommended that you keep the following items in a hidden location just in case you must leave for the shelter (or your home in general) in a hurry:
  • $50 or more in cash
  • a small bag with extra clothing for you and your children
  • any important papers including:
    • bank account numbers, check books, Social Security numbers, your partner's date of birth and work place, insurance policies, marriage license, birth certificates for you and your children, and a list of important phone numbers
  • sentimental valuables and photos
  • any special medication for children
  • extra keys for house and car.

Does it cost anything to stay at the shelter?
SBW - No.

How big is the shelter?
There are 24 beds and 4 cribs there.

How long can I stay?
SBW - 30 days. During this time you'll be working with a counselor who helps you set goals. The counselor and you will make a list of your goals (needs) and the two of you will work on how to prioritize and achieve those goals. Housing will most likely be something that will be one of your goals and the hope is that you will have another place to stay after 30 days.

Is there a transportation line nearby
SBW - Yes. There is a bus stop within a short walking distance from the shelter.

Do they offer daycare?
SBW - Yes.

Do they have a kitchen? Can we use it
SBW - Yes. There is a kitchen. Meals are served, however, Monday-Friday – 3 times per day. Residents are allowed to use the kitchen on Saturdays and Sundays.

Does everyone sleep on cots all lined up in a row like some homeless shelters depicted on TV?
SBW - No. If you're a single women without children it's likely that you'll have one roommate and share a bathroom with a few women. If you're a woman with several children it's likely that you'll have your own room.

Do they have phones?
SBW - Yes, for local calls. A resident has to consult with a counselor if there is a dire need for long distance calls.

Can I get any visitors there?
SBW - Visitors have to be okayed by all the residents since this is a confidential establishment but if okayed female visitors are allowed.

Is there a grocery store nearby? SBW - Yes.

Do they offer counseling ?
SBW - Yes and you'll be required to speak with a counselor. These sessions will be used to prioritize your needs / goals and set up a plan to attain them. These goals usually involve finding housing, a job, etc You can continue to see your counselor 2-3 months after you leave the shelter if you wish.

How is my stay really going to be?
SBW - You'll be required to be active in taking care of basic survival issues with your counselor. You'll also be required to attend a meeting on Sunday night (a meeting in which house chores are allocated) and a Monday night support meeting. There is also an optional Wednesday night workshop with varying themes including makeovers, haircuts, budgeting, massage therapy, putting clothes together etc.

Is there a lot of crime at the shelter?
SBW - No.

Is there a place to park my car?
SBW - There are parking spaces within walking distance to the shelter.

How can my children get to school?
SBW - All the school age children who are staying at the shelter attend schools in Mecklenburg County in a program called "A Child's Place". School personnel in these schools are educated about domestic violence, and they are not allowed to let the children to leave the school campus without permission. The other children in the school will have no idea that your child is staying at the shelter unless your child shares that information with them.

Is there security?
SBW - Yes. There are armed officers that patrol the area.

How to Obtain a Protective Order

Qualifications for a DV Protective Order (50B)
  1. Plaintiff or defendant must be a resident of Mecklenburg County, NC.
  2. Must have a valid address for the person you are seeking the order against.
  3. Must have one of the following relationships with the defendant:
    • Married or Divorced
    • Persons of the opposite sex who are not married but live together or have lived together in the past
    • Have a child in common
    • Parent and child or grandparent and grandchild (must be at least 16 years old)
    • Current or former household members
    • Persons of the opposite sex who are in or have been in a dating relationship
  4. The person you are seeking protection from must have committed one of the following acts; it is the victim’s responsibility to prove that the act occurred:
    • Caused or attempted to cause bodily injury
    • Placed you or a member of your household in fear of immediate physical danger
    • Continued to harass you to the point where you are suffering from emotional distress
    • Committed one or more sexual offenses against you

Mecklenburg County Process for Obtaining a Domestic Violence Protective Order
  • Civil Clerk's Office
    8:30am - 5:00pm Mon-Fri
    832 E. 4th Street Room #3725 Charlotte, NC

    Protective Order paperwork available.
    No assistance provided.

    Paperwork filing

    NO FEE
  • Safe Alliance
    800 E. 4th Street, Suite 310 & 311
    8:00am - 5:00pm Mon-Fri

  • Magistrate's Office
    6:00pm - 5:00am Mon-Fri
    Anytime on Saturdays and Sundays
    801 E. 4th Street Charlotte, NC

    Magistrate's Process for an Emergency Protective Order
    Step 1: Fill out required paper- work at the Magistrate’s office. When finished, the Magistrate/ Judge will decide if you get a tem- porary Protective Order (Exparte) for 72 hours or up to 10 days.
    • If granted, the Magistrate will give you a court date and time to go before a judge and tell why you need an order for one year.
    • The process will take several hours so please be patient and allow yourself enough time.

    Step 2: Follow steps 5-6 of the Civil Court Process listed below to extend your Protective Order for one year. Contact Victim Assistance for Court Accompaniment at your 10-day hearing, as well as referrals to community resources.

Civil Court Process for a Domestic Violence Protective Order
Step 1: Get the necessary paperwork from the Civil Clerk's Office or Victim Assistance.

Step 2: Fill out the "Complaint" form and other required forms
  • Describe the situation that caused you to seek a Protective Order. Be very specific and use dates and times. Start with the most recent event.
  • Be sure to indicate requests for custody, eviction, no contact, vehicle possession, possession of personal property, financial and/or child support, and the surrender of firearms.
  • Victim Assistance will be able to help you fill out these forms at their office.

Step 3: File forms in the Civil Clerk's Office (3725) to receive a court date.
Step 4: The Exparte Hearing is your chance to tell the judge why you need an emergency order for 10 days
  • Held in Room# 4110 of the Mecklenburg County Courthouse (832 E. 4th Street Charlotte, NC)
  • Defendant will not be present
  • Court room accompaniment available for clients of Victim Assistance
  • A representative from the Sheriff's Office will be available to assist you after court
  • If granted, emergency relief will be provided until the next court date, once the defendant has been served (typically 7-10 days).

Step 5: Legal Aid may be contacted to offer legal assistance for your 10-Day Hearing (704-376-1600) or you can hire your own attorney. Victim Assistance has a Legal Representation Program as well. You may also represent yourself at this hearing.
Step 6: The 10-Day Hearing is your chance to ask the judge to extend the Protective Order for 1 year. Both you and the defendant will have the opportunity to tell your side of the story.
  • Held in Room# 4110 of the Mecklenburg County Courthouse (832 E. 4th Street Charlotte, NC)
  • If the defendant has not been served, then the case may be continued until service has been made; you still need to appear in court.
  • If the order is granted, the protection it provides will last for a year, covering only the conditions awarded by the judge (see conditions in the "Order Procedures" in the downloadable brochure)(PDF, 411KB).
  • If the defendant is not served, return to court on the hearing date given and ask the judge to continue your Ex Parte order so the sheriff's department can try to serve the defendant again. if you have additional information about where the defendant might be, bring that with you and give it to the sheriff's deputies.

Are you involved in an abusive relationship?
Abuse does not have to be physical. Many abusers first use mental or emotional tactics before they become physically abusive. You may be in an abusive relationship if he or she:
  • Is jealous or possessive toward you.
  • Tries to control you by being very bossy or demanding.
  • Is violent and loses his or her temper quickly
  • Pressures you sexually.
  • Abuses drugs or alcohol.
  • Blames you when he or she mistreats you.
  • Has a history of bad relationships
  • Believes men should be in control and powerful, while women should be passive and submissive.
  • Your family and friends have warned you about the person or told you that they are concerned for your safety.
  • You worry about how he or she will react to things you say or do.

Local Domestic Violence Resources
Other important numbers to know:
CMPD Domestic Violence Unit

Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office

Safe Alliance
  • Clyde and Ethel Dickson Domestic Violence Shelter (Emergency shelter for victims and their children)
  • Victim Assistance Court Program (Assistance with Domestic Violence Protective Orders)
  • Greater Charlotte Hope Line (24 Hour Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Parenting Support Hotline)

Mecklenburg County Community Support Services
(Domestic Violence counseling for victims and their children, support groups, services for domestic violence offenders)

NC SAVAN(North Carolina Statewide Automated Victim Assistance and Notification)

Legal Aid of North Carolina – Charlotte Office

Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy

Department of Social Services (Child Protective Services)

The Relatives

Crisis Assistance

Community Link (Travelers Aid)

For additional information please contact the Domestic Violence Unit at 704-336-2379. To report domestic violence in progress, call 911.