Women In Need provides advocacy and accompaniment through the criminal and civil court system. In criminal court, WIN Legal Advocates assist victims as they go through different court proceedings, explaining court procedures and informing them about the progress of their case. The Legal Advocates can also assist victims through the criminal process by accompanying them to the Police Department and/or District Attorney's Office.
In addition to criminal court accompaniment, Legal Advocates are also available to assist victims of abuse in completing a Protection From Abuse Order, or PFA. The advocates work through the PFA questionnaire with the victims, assist them in scheduling an appointment with the attorney to complete the PFA paperwork, and advocate for them throughout the civil proceeding in PFA court.
Frequently Asked Questions about PFAs:
1. Spouse, ex-spouse.
2. Current or former sexual/intimate partner.
3. Blood relatives.
1. The victim needs to call WIN and ask to speak to a Legal Advocate about their current situation.
2. They will then meet with the Legal Advocate to complete the PFA questionnaire.
3. Next is a meeting with the attorney at the Law Offices of WIN to discuss the PFA.
4. After the victim signs the petition, the legal documents are sent to the courthouse to be signed by a judge.
5. This Temporary Order, along with other legal documents, is hand delivered by the Sheriff’s Department to the abuser. Once this is done, the Temporary Order is enforceable.
6. There will be a Final Hearing to determine if the Order will be in effect for up to 3 years. The attorney will represent you, and a WIN Advocate will accompany you to this Final Hearing.
- What can be included in the Protection From Abuse Order?
1. Order the abuser to stop abusing, harassing, stalking, or threatening you and/or your children.
2. Evict the abuser from the home.
3. Order abuser to have no contact.
4. Temporary custody and visitation rights.
5. Order the abuser to pay temporary financial support.
6. Prohibit abuser from coming to residence.
7. Prohibit abuser from having weapons.
8. Reimbursement for financial losses (medical bills, lost wages).
9. Can keep victim’s address confidential.
- What happens if the abuser violates the PFA?
1. You should call the police immediately.
2. A violation results in a hearing, called an Indirect Criminal Contempt Hearing (ICC), in which the abuser would be called before a judge to answer the allegations made against them.
3. You will need to be present at the violation hearing.
4. A violation may result in a fine up to $1,000 or imprisonment of up to 6 months or both.
5. PFA Orders can be modified and extended at the hearing.