Restraining Orders How To...
Everything You Wanted To Know About Filing A Restraining Order For Protection But Didn't Know Who To Ask
Remember . . .
There are caring professionals that are concerned about your well-being and safety.
You don't have to go through this process alone and you have the right to a violence-free life.
Victims' Services Unit
Palm Bay Police Department
130 Malabar Road S.E.
Palm Bay, Florida 32909
Phone (321) 952-3459
Fax (321) 952-3406
An Injunction for Protection is a request made to a judge asking that someone be court- ordered to stop acts of domestic violence against you.
Two kinds of injunctions are available
If you are the victim of domestic violence you have the right to petition the court for protection. "Domestic violence" means any physical battery, sexual battery, assault or even threatened assault.
If the same person has been violent toward you twice within the last six months you may file for an injunction. The court cannot act on threats alone; physical assault, battery or sexual assault must have occurred.
How do I file for an injunction?
You can file for an injunction at the Clerk of Court's Office located in Melbourne or Viera. You must appear in person at the Clerk's Office in either location on weekdays, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Clerk of Court's Office has staff to assist you in preparing the necessary paperwork accurately. Tell the Clerk that you need an Injunction for Protection. Tell the Clerk all the facts of the case, including all the details that you want the judge to be aware of. Bring identification and any papers related to your case (i.e., police reports, answering machine tapes, diary of events with dates and times, cards, letters or notes that support your claims). You will be asked to describe in writing the most recent event of abuse followed by all other events of abuse. There is a $50 fee associated with filing an injunction; however, paperwork can be completed by the Clerk of Court to waive this fee. The judge will determine whether there will be a fee at the time of the permanent hearing and who will be responsible for it.
50 Nieman Avenue
Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Justice Center
2825 Judge Fran Jamieson Way
Once a temporary injunction is filed, what happens?
After you file your petition, the Judge will review it and decide if you are in immediate danger. If they think you are, a temporary injunction can be obtained the same day you file your petition, without a hearing and without the abuser knowing first. A temporary injunction is in effect for up to 15 days. The Clerk will provide you with a copy of the injunction. Another copy will be served (physically delivered) to the abuser by the Brevard County Sheriff's Office and a third copy will be sent to your local law enforcement agency within 24 hours.
Once I have filed the paperwork, can the abuser still have contact with me?
The injunction is active as soon as the judge signs it. However, the abuser may not be served for several days to weeks, depending on the availability of the abuser to be physically served. Therefore, keep a copy in your possession (car, purse, etc.) should you be approached by the abuser before they have been served. If approached by the abuser, notify your local law enforcement of their whereabouts to facilitate the serving process. It is very important for you to always have a "safety plan" in place even after the abuser has been served. You can confirm that the injunction has been served by contacting the Brevard County Sheriff's Office, Civil Division Office at (321) 264-5207.
How does the injunction protect me?
Some things the Judge may order in the injunction include:
- That the abuser STOP all acts of violence toward you.
- That the abuser leave the home you share.
- That the abuser have NO CONTACT with you at all unless ordered by the judge.
- That the abuser stay away from your home, school, place of work or places that you spend time (like a family member's home).
- That you have temporary custody of any children you and the abuser have together.
Once the judge issues a temporary injunction, what next?
The judge will set a date for a permanent hearing if they issue a temporary injunction. Both you and the abuser will have a chance to speak at this later hearing. The judge may grant a more permanent injunction lasting from one year to lifetime. Bring any documents related to the abuse, such as police reports, cards, letters, answering machine tapes and actual witnesses of the abuse, if possible. Any documentation of harassment or threats since the temporary injunction was initiated is especially important.
What will it be like in court?
The abuser (respondent) may choose to be present at the hearing. If you are afraid of seeing the abuser at the hearing, please notify the Clerk of Court Security to arrange separate waiting areas. At the hearing, you will be asked to describe the events that led to your filing of the petition. The abuser will also be asked about the events and may confirm or deny your allegations of abuse. This is often an emotionally upsetting experience to "re-tell" the events. You are encouraged to bring a friend, family member or victim advocate with you for support. Also, there is free legal representation available through Legal Aid and the Women's Center for the injunction hearing. Call the Palm Bay Victims' Services Unit at 952-3459 to arrange for legal representation or advocacy representation.
Once the petition for protection has been served, what other steps do I need to take?
The most important thing for you to do is maintain a safety plan. Also, provide a copy of the Injunction papers to your employer, your children's school/daycare center and keep a copy with you at all times. Report all incidents that violate the Injunction to the Palm Bay Police or law enforcement agency where the violation occurred immediately. By not reporting the violations of the injunction, the abusers are led to believe that they will not be held responsible for their actions against you. Remember: An Injunction does not guarantee your safety and does not take the place of a safety plan. It will, however, permit law enforcement to arrest the abuser for any deliberate actions violating the injunction.
If you don't have the Palm Bay Police Department's Victims' Services Unit brochure titled: "Domestic Violence Safety Plan: Everyone Has the Right to be Safe!" call and request the brochure at 952-3459.
What should I do if the abuser does not comply with the injunction?
If the abuser violates the injunction, call the police or 911. The police may arrest the abuser when the officer has probable cause to believe that they have knowingly violated or refused to comply with the injunction.
Violent individuals usually do not change their behavior without long-term treatment and legal consequences such as injunctions and court-ordered treatment. Recognize that the injunction may not be enough. Continue to maintain your safety plan and review it with your children, family, friends, etc. Call the nearest Domestic Violence Shelter or Women's Center and learn all you can about local resources.
Palm Bay Victims' Services Unit
Serene Harbor Domestic Violence Shelter
Clerk of Court - Domestic Violence
What should I do if I file the injunction and move out of state?
An Injunction for Protection issued anywhere in Florida is valid in all of Florida's 67 counties. Injunctions for Protection issued in other states or countries are also enforceable in Florida. However, anytime you relocate to another state or country, it is beneficial to file a copy of your injunction with the local Sheriff's Office and the police department in the town you reside.