Domestic Violence FAQ
- What is domestic violence?
- What is a crime of domestic violence?
- What is Domestic Battery?
- What is Stalking?
- What happens after I make a report to police?
- How can I be notified when the suspect is released from jail?
- How long will the jail hold the suspect in a domestic violence arrest?
- What happens at a Bond Review hearing? Can my voice, as the victim, be heard at a bond review hearing?
- What if the victim wants to drop charges?
- I signed something when the suspect was arrested – what was that?
- I can’t leave my animal behind, but I need to go somewhere to be safe, what can I do?
- Do I need to come to the hearing since I am the person who called the police?
- Will I have an opportunity to speak to the judge?
- What is a No Contact Order (NCO)?
- What is a Protective Order?
- How is a Protective Order (PO) different from a No Contact Order (NCO)?
- How do I request a No Contact Order in a case where I am the victim?
- Is there anyone who can help me file for a Protective Order (PO)?
- I have a Protective Order that includes my children. Who should be informed of this?
- The Judge issued a verbal No Contact Order. What does that mean?
- I have a No Contact Order/ Protective Order and I keep getting text messages and/or calls. They are not threatening, but I want them to stop. What should I do?
- I do not ever want to see the defendant again. Will I have to?
- What is a deposition?
- My family member or friend is in an abusive relationship. What can I do to help?
- I am not the victim. Can you give me information about the case?
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence includes any violent act or crime directed toward or against an intimate partner. Intimate partners can be defined as spouses, former spouses, those living together as if a spouse, or those with a child in common. The Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office policy interprets “living together as if a spouse” to include same sex couples.
What is a crime of domestic violence?
Domestic violence is legally defined as a crime in which the defendant and the victim share an intimate partner relationship (spouse, former spouse, living together as if married, child in common). Domestic Battery includes the intimate partner relationship as an element of the offense. Other crimes which may be domestic violence typically include:
2. Invasion of Privacy
7. Residential Entry & Trespass
8. Property crimes such as Theft and Criminal Mischief
Whether or not a criminal offense is legally defined as domestic violence depends on the relationship of the parties, not the name of the offense. For example, the Prosecutor’s Office handles Strangulation, Invasion of Privacy, Stalking, Intimidation, Confinement, and Harassment cases that are not between intimate partners, and that are not domestic violence. These cases are not handled by the domestic violence deputy prosecutor, but rather are handled by other deputies throughout the office. Where there is no intimate partner relationship between the victim and the defendant, the case is not domestic violence. The nature of the intimate partner relationship is determined from reviewing the narrative police report prepared by the arresting officer.
What is Domestic Battery?
According to Indiana Code 35-42-2-1.3, domestic battery is defined as a person who knowingly or intentionally touches a person who:
(1) is or was a spouse of the other person;
(2) is or was living as if a spouse of the other person; or
(3) has a child in common with the other person;
in a rude, insolent or angry manner that results in bodily injury to the person describe in subdivision (1), (2) or (3) commits domestic battery, a Class A misdemeanor. However the offense is a Class D felony if the person has a previous, unrelated conviction under this section (or IC 35-42-2-1(a)(2)(E) before its repeal).
What is Stalking?
Under Indiana law stalking is defined as a knowing or intentional course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another person that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, or threatened and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, or threatened. The term does not include statutorily or constitutionally protected activity. Stalking is a typically a D felony, and may include enhanced penalties under certain circumstances. Indiana Code 35-45-10 contains the law on Stalking.
To learn more about stalking click here.
What happens after I make a report to police?
The law enforcement agency will conduct a criminal investigation. This usually includes interviewing witnesses and collecting evidence. If the investigating officer determines that no crime has occurred, then no further action will be taken.
If the investigating officer determines that probable cause exists that a domestic violence crime has been committed, the officer must arrest the suspect. The officer will arrest the suspect (if the suspect is still present) or request a warrant for the suspect’s arrest (if the suspect has fled). If the suspect is arrested and charged with a crime of battery in Monroe County the defendant must spend 24 hours in jail (a “cooling off” period) before they can be released on bail. (To learn more about the 24- hour hold / “Cooling Off” period, click here.)
In crimes of domestic violence, the officer is required to give the victim a written Notice of Victims Rights. This Notice provides information on the legal rights that victims of domestic violence have under the law.
Domestic Violence Victim’s Rights: Effective 7-1-02, IC 35-33-1-1.5 requires a law enforcement officer responding to the scene of a crime involving domestic or family violence to give the victim immediate and written notice of their rights provided by law under IC 35-40.
The police officer will ask the victim if he/she wants to be notified when the suspect is released. If yes, the officer will have the victim fill out a Victim Notification of Release From Jail form. A victim has the right to be notified of the suspect’s release from custody.
In addition, the Officer will give the victim a copy of the “Domestic Violence Referral Form”, which provides information on the Victims Assistance Program, Middle Way House, No Contact Orders, Protective Orders, and safety tips.
The police officer may take photographs of any injuries and request that the victim write out a sworn statement that describes the incident. Medical care will be arranged, if needed.
How can I be notified when the suspect is released from jail?
There is a jail notification system called VINElink. If you are the victim of the crime and you signed up at the time of arrest that you would like to be notified, the jailers will call you when the suspect is released from jail. If you did NOT sign up to be notified, please call the Domestic Violence Victim Assistant at 812-349-7376, give your name and phone number and she can call the jail and request that you be added to the jail notification list. If you would like to contact the Victim Assistant at 812-349-7376, she will verify whether the suspect is in jail or not.
Click here for the Monroe County Jail’s Victim Notification Form. This may be submitted directly to the Monroe County Jail. If you would like the Victim Assistant to submit this form, please contact the Victims Assistance Program.
How long will the jail hold the suspect in a domestic violence arrest?
In Monroe County, there is a 24-hour hold, or “cooling off” period on all Domestic Battery arrests. Every suspect usually has the right to post bond. Bond is determined according to a schedule adopted by the Monroe County Board of Judges based on the level of offense. If the defendant is still incarcerated at their Initial Hearing, the judge will schedule a Bond Review Hearing to take place at a later date. At this hearing, the judge will hear arguments from both sides on whether or not to lower the defendant’s bond or to release them. It is completely up to the judge to decide whether or not to change a defendant’s bond.
What happens at a Bond Review hearing? Can my voice, as the victim, be heard at a bond review hearing?
At a Bond Review Hearing the defendant may request that the judge lower their bond or address other conditions of their release from jail. The Victim Assistant is here to help share your wishes with the deputy prosecutor handling the case. Please keep us informed as to your desires for the case and we will communicate that on your behalf. If you would like to be present at the hearing, the Victim Assistant is typically available to attend with you. Be sure to let the Victim Assistant know you would like to be accompanied to the hearing.
What if the victim wants to drop charges?
It is not uncommon in domestic violence cases for the perpetrator to pressure the victim to become uncooperative or change their initial position to later request that criminal charges be dismissed. It is often difficult for the prosecutor’s office to fully assess whether or not such pressure exists and what the best course of action may be, particularly at an early stage in the court proceedings prior to the initial hearing. As such, our office policy on handling domestic violence cases, and the recognized best practice in this area, is to proceed with a charging decision based on the evidence gathered during the police investigation. Removing responsibility for the charging decision from the victim helps to insulate the victim from undue influence by the defendant. While sensitivity to the victim’s wishes is certainly a relevant concern and may influence the direction and ultimate outcome of the case, the prosecutor’s role is not controlled by the victim. The prosecutor’s primary responsibility is to enforce the criminal laws and public safety interests of the State of Indiana. An act of domestic violence is a violation of Indiana criminal law, and there is an important public safety interest in holding perpetrators accountable. In other words, the prosecutor is not the private attorney of the victim, and must sometimes make a decision to pursue a case even if the victim contacts our office and states that they wish to drop criminal charges. Our public duty to enforce the criminal laws of the State must be balanced with the wishes of a victim in a particular case. Pursuant to this policy, our office will not drop a domestic violence charge prior to the initial hearing once the decision has been made to charge the case. Following the initial hearing in this case, our office will remain willing to meet with the victim and consider their wishes for how the case should be resolved. Obviously, successful prosecution of the case usually requires the victim’s cooperation and willingness to testify. However, in some instances, depending on the available evidence, a prosecution may be maintained even without the victim’s cooperation.
I signed something when the suspect was arrested – what was that?
You may have signed that you received information on services available in the community, for release of medical records related to this incident, and information about Victim Rights. If you have questions please call the Victim Assistant at 812-349-7376.
I can’t leave my animal behind, but I need to go somewhere to be safe, what can I do?
Often friends or family members could assist you in temporarily caring for your pet. You may contact your veterinarian and ask if they know of any options for temporarily housing animals. You may also contact the Victim Assistant who may be able to refer you to other options in our community.
Do I need to come to the hearing since I am the person who called the police?
No, you are not required to attend the hearings, unless you have received a subpoena or have been asked to testify. Generally, hearings are open to the public, and you are welcome to attend if you would like. A Victim Assistant typically attends all Domestic Violence court hearings. If you plan to attend, you may contact the Victim Assistants to let them know.
Will I have an opportunity to speak to the judge?
While a criminal charge is pending, you may not speak directly to the judge about the case. You may be called upon to testify at a trial or other court proceedings. Upon conviction and prior to sentencing, victims have the right to make a Victim Impact Statement describing the effect of the crime on a victim’s life.
What is a No Contact Order (NCO)?
In a criminal case, a judge may issue a No Contact Order, requiring that a defendant not call, write, have a third party contact, or physically contact the victim or any other party with whom the judge orders the defendant to have “no contact”. It is usually placed as a condition of bond of a defendant arrested for a violent crime. Like all other bond conditions (e.g., not violating criminal laws, not leaving the state, appearing at future court proceedings, etc.), any violation could cause the judge to revoke the bond, in which case the defendant would remain in jail until further order or the court. A judge has the discretion to issue any bond condition, as he or she sees fit. A No Contact Order stays in effect while the criminal case is pending. A No Contact Order provision may also be imposed following a conviction as part of the sentence, whether or not the defendant is in jail or on probation.
What is a Protective Order?
A victim of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual violence may choose to request a Protective Order (PO). A PO is a separate petition filed in a civil court independent from a criminal case. A PO is filed by a Petitioner against a Respondent requesting a Judge’s Order that stops or restrains the named person from:
- contacting the Petitioner through any means (in person, by phone, by mail or e-mail, Facebook, through a third party, etc.)
- entering the Petitioner’s residence, property, or work place
- harassing, stalking, or threatening the Petitioner
Violation of a Protective Order may result in a criminal charge for Invasion of Privacy.
How is a Protective Order (PO) different from a No Contact Order (NCO)?
A Protective Order (PO) is a civil action that is separate from any criminal case. The person requesting the PO is called the Petitioner. The Prosecutor’s Office does not request Protective Orders. A Petitioner can request a protective order regardless of whether or not a criminal charge is filed.
If a criminal charge is filed, the prosecutor can request that a No Contact Order be imposed on the defendant. Both No Contact Orders and Protective Orders are Judge’s Orders that stop or restrain the named person from:
- contacting the protected person through any means (in person, by phone, by mail or e-mail, Facebook, through a third party, etc.)
- entering the protected person’s residence, property, or work place
- harassing, stalking, or threatening the protected person
How do I request a No Contact Order in a case where I am victim?
Only the Prosecutor’s Office may request a No Contact Order in a case in which criminal charges have been filed. Contact the Victim Assistance Program.
Is there anyone who can help me file for a Protective Order (PO)?
Click here to go to the Domestic Violence Resources Page of our and look under the Protective Order/Legal Assistance section.
I have a Protective Order that includes my children. Who should be informed of this?
We encourage you to inform your children’s school, the social worker at the school and any other programs/facilities your children frequent or attend. Give a copy of the Protective Order to those institutions.
The Judge issued a verbal No Contact Order. What does that mean?
If you are aware that this has occurred, please contact the Prosecutor’s Office Victim Assistant. We will attempt to obtain a written No Contact Order in addition to the verbal order. You may also petition for a Protective Order on your own.
I have a No Contact Order/ Protective Order and I keep getting text messages and/or calls. They are not threatening, but I want them to stop. What should I do?
Call the police. Any contact, direct or indirect, is a violation of the No Contact Order or the Protective Order and may result in an additional criminal charge for Invasion of Privacy.
I do not ever want to see the defendant again. Will I have to?
Depending on your case, you may or may not have to see the defendant in court or in court-related proceedings. You may request a No Contact Order if you would like to prevent the defendant from contacting you. There are a few scenarios where you would be in the same room as the defendant. The defendant generally may not talk to you during any of these proceedings, the exception being if the defendant is representing him/herself. Baliffs are in the court room to maintain security. The defendant may be present at the deposition. You may talk to your Victim Assistant and the Deputy Prosecutor handling your case if this is uncomfortable for you, and they maybe able to make arrangements that still honor the defendant’s rights and accommodate for your comfort. In the event that you testify in court, the defendant will be present. You may also be asked to identify the defendant in court.
What is a deposition?
A deposition is an informal proceeding in which an attorney questions a potential witness in a case. In a deposition, the witness is called the deponent and is sworn to tell the truth (by the court reporter, who is neutral) before any questions are asked. A deputy prosecutor and the defendant’s lawyer will be present.
When a deposition is taken of a victim, the defendant’s lawyer will ask questions, while the court reporter records what is said in order to prepare a written transcript. The Court Reporter later provides a written copy to the attorneys. Portions of the transcript could be used at a trial.
The purpose of a deposition is usually for the defense to find out what facts the potential witness knows, to get an idea of what sort of a witness he or she would be at trial, and also to get the witness to commit to their testimony in writing.
Depositions are not a trial, even though they may be used at trial. Depositions are informal proceedings, usually take place in the prosecutor’s office, and the judge is not present. Many topics may be covered in a deposition that will not be admissible at trial. The witness must answer all questions unless the deputy prosecutor handling the case instructs you not to answer.
After the defense attorney finishes asking questions, the deputy prosecutor will have an opportunity to ask questions. It is not uncommon for a deputy prosecutor to decide not to ask further questions in a deposition taken by the defense. The deputy prosecutor is there to protect you from improper questioning, not to help the defense prepare their case.
Click here to read “Points to Remember While Testifying” and to watch “Preparing to be a Witness in Court”, a video made by the Monroe County Prosecutor, Chris Gaal.
My family member or friend is in an abusive relationship. What can I do to help?
Follow this link to find out you can help.
I am not the victim. Can you give me information about the case?
You can access public records at mycase.gov. The Prosecutor’s Office will only share specific information about a case directly with the adult victim in that case. Victims may request that another party be notified about the status of the case.