What is Domestic Violence?
In the State of Florida, domestic violence is defined as the following acts being committed against one or more family members:
- Sexual assault or battery
- Aggravated Assault or battery
- Aggravated stalking or cyberstalking
- Kidnapping and/or false imprisonment
- Any assault or act that results in injury and death of the family member
Anyone who believes him or herself to be in immediate danger can obtain an injunction against the abuser under Fla. Stat. § 741.28(2) and Fla. Stat. § 741.30(1)(a). The sooner, the better.
What is Immediate Danger?
A Florida judge will consider the following:
- The history between the accuser and the accused regarding abuse, harassment, or previous threats.
- Any assault or threat of harm to family members or destruction to the accuser’s property.
- Any deliberate harm caused by the respondent/abuser to a family pet.
- If the respondent has previously restrained the accuser or prevented him or her from calling the police.
- If the respondent has a history of violence.
- Whether a previous restraining has ever been ordered.
Different Types of Injunctions Against Domestic Violence
The State of Florida will issue two different types of injunctions, either a temporary (or ex parte) one or a final one.
A temporary injunction is immediate and intended to protect a potential victim and his or her family from an abuser in an emergency situation.
This emergency type of injunction will be based on the information contained in the petition presented to the judge. No testimony from either party is required. This temporary petition takes effect immediately upon service to the abuser. The emergency measure is effective for a maximum of 15 days (the judge may grant a continuance).
Before the end of the injunction, the judge will hold a hearing to decide whether this temporary injunction should become permanent. The judge can also deny a temporary injunction if he or she does not sense any immediate danger but at the same time set a hearing for a final, permanent injunction.
After a hearing, the judge might offer the victim more protection in the final injunction than the temporary one. The final injunction has a set expiration date, but either party can petition to modify said date.
What Protections Does an Injunction Offer to the Victim?
A temporary injunction against domestic violence in the State of Florida can contain the following:
- An order against abuse.
- A restraint to prevent the abuser from entering the family home; it may give temporary custody of the home and its possessions to the complainant. This includes pets.
- The order may give 100 percent of child custody to the complainant.
A final injunction against domestic violence in the State of Florida offers can do the following:
- Provide all the protection offered in the temporary injunction.
- Restrain the abuser from having any contact with the complainant and restrain him or her from entering the family home.
- Forbid any contact between the abuser and the complainant.
- Order child support and/or spousal support for the complainant.
- Order counseling and treatment for the abuser.
- Refer the complainant to a domestic violence counselor.
- The injunction bans the abuser/respondent from owning a gun or any weapon.
Filing an Injunction Against Domestic Violence
You can file an injunction with the Clerk of the Court in the complainant’s or abuser’s residency area, or where the abuse occurred.
If the abuser and complainant live in different states, the judge in one state may not have jurisdiction over the abuser who lives out-of-state, and the judge may be unable to grant an injunction. To take action against an out-of-state abuser, the judge needs the abuser to have state ties, like family or business. This allows serving the abuser with a petition in the complainant’s state.
If none of these circumstances are applicable, a Florida Court may still be able to grant an injunction under the right circumstances. Having an experienced family law attorney can be very helpful in accomplishing that goal.
Main Types of Restraining Orders
Most people think of restraining orders as being for established couples. However, restraints against violence can be requested for different circumstances, as well.
- You don’t need to be a family member of the abuser to file a complaint and request an injunction. Anyone suffering from violence, threats, or stalking can seek protection for themselves and involved children.
- Abuse and violence can happen in the realm of dating. If the abuse occurred within six months of the date, a complaint can be filed and protection requested.
- If a respondent has experienced sexual violence within the past six months, he or she can request a sexual violence restraining order. This restraining order includes adults or any child who is being sexually violated.
- Violence and threats can take many forms, including stalking and cyberstalking. In the State of Florida, this refers to continuous harassment to cause emotional anguish. This can include threats and damaging personal property
(as in slashing someone’s tires, etc.).
Domestic violence refers to any abusive or threatening behavior within a relationship and includes physical, emotional, financial, and sexual abuse. For anyone involved in such circumstances, it is important to discuss the situation with someone, whether a trusted friend or a professional counselor. No one deserves to be abused. Sadly, many people can come to believe that they “asked for it.”
In the event of imminent physical danger, a person should seek refuge or shelter immediately. Document any threats to the police. It is their job to offer protection.
National Hotline for Domestic Violence: 800-799-7233
For Miami-Dade, Florida Domestic Violence Victim & Related Services:
24 Hour Florida Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-500-1119; TTY: 1-800-621-4202
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233); TTY: 1-800-787-3224
Florida Department of Children & Families: 1-800-96-ABUSE (22873), www.dcf.state.fl.us
Victim Response Inc/The Lodge (305) 693-1170, thelodgemiami.org
North Dade Victim Center (Safespace Shelter North) (305) 758-2546
South Dade Victim Center (Safespace Shelter South) (305) 247-4249
Coordinated Victims Assistance Center (CVAC): 2400 S. Dixie Hwy, Miami, FL 33133; (305) 285-5900
Survivor’s Pathway: 1801 Coral Way, Miami, FL 33145; (786) 275-4364
Clerk of Courts (DV Division)
Lawson E. Thomas Court House Center (main / downtown courthouse): 175 NW 1st Avenue, Miami, FL 33128 (mezzanine / M floor): (305) 349-5813
Hialeah Courthouse: (305) 520-4002
South Dade Government Center: (305) 252-5807
North Dade Justice Center: (305) 354-8736
Joseph Caleb Center: (305) 636-2415
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