If you are in a dangerous or crisis situation, you should call 911 to reach your local police department. For further information or you just need to talk, the Canton/Massillon Area Domestic Violence Project has a 24 hour 7 day a week Family Violence Information line at 330-453-SAFE(7233). For the Alliance Area Domestic Violence Shelter call 330-823-7223.
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A Civil Protection Order (CPO) restricts the abuser from contacting you in any manner including friendly contact. This order is issued through Family Court and is valid up to five years and can protect you and your family or household members. The abuser is restrained from going to your home and the places you may be such as work or school. Under Ohio Revised Code 3113.31 you may be eligible for a CPO if ONE of the following applies to your situation:
If the respondent violates any term of the Ex Parte CPO or the final CPO, it could result in a new criminal charge. If a violation occurs, you should call the police immediately. It is very important to have a copy of the CPO available to show the police when they arrive. If the police find probable cause, they will arrest the respondent and charge him or her with a violation of the CPO. If the police do not arrest the respondent, you should contact the city prosecutor's office and schedule an appointment to make a private complaint. Additionally, a Motion to Show Cause can be filed in Family Court, because the respondent violated a Court Order. The Court can order the respondent to appear at a hearing and show cause as to why there was a violation and civil remedies can be imposed.
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If you are a victim and the abuser is being prosecuted you will not need an attorney. The state of Ohio does not represent you, however many times your interests and the interest of justice are the same. If you determine that you need the assistance of an attorney but cannot afford one, there are two primary options. You may choose to handle the matter on your own. When a person represents themself in court it is called "Pro Se". In Stark County Pro Se forms are available for Civil Protection Orders as well as Civil Stalking and Sexual Oriented Offense Protection Orders (SSOOPO). The Clerk of Courts has the forms readily available. The CPO forms are available at the Family Court Clerk's Office and the SSOOPO forms are available at the Common Pleas Clerk's Office. If you do not believe that you can complete these forms on your own, Community Legal Aid Services offers assistance for individuals and families who qualify. Community Legal Aid Services is located at the Renkert Building, 306 Market Avenue North, Suite 730 Canton, Ohio 44702. An application for assistance can be completed Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to Noon and 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
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A Domestic Violence Criminal Temporary Protection Order (DVTPO) is obtained through a Municipal Court when a charge of domestic violence is brought before the court. The person asking for the DVTPO (petitioner) is requesting that the accused be ordered to have no contact with the petitioner or with anyone else involved in the case (children in home, etc). Once the motion is granted, it then becomes a Court Order. The DVTPO prohibits the accused from ANY contact. This applies to contact made in person, by telephone, email, etc. The victim should report any violation to the Police Department or the prosecutor's office. At that time, the court may bring a new charge of violating a Domestic Violence Criminal Temporary Protection Order against the accused.
The DVTPO remains in effect until the case has been disposed. Once the case is over, the court no longer has jurisdiction, therefore the DVTPO has automatically ended.
The motion for a DVTPO is often heard on the day of arraignment. The petitioner requests a DVTPO at the prosecutor's office once a charge of domestic violence is brought. The secretary will type up the proper forms and obtain your signature. Once the secretary and clerk of court have completed the necessary paperwork, it is sent into the courtroom for the request to be heard by the judge. The victim must appear in court at that time. The judge will ask some questions, such as name, address and why this is being requested (circumstances regarding the alleged incident). If children are involved, the petitioner may ask to have them included on the DVTPO. If the judge grants the request for the DVTPO, the order will not take effect until the accused has been served with a copy. Since the request is made at the arraignment, the accused can be served then and the order will go into effect immediately.
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A "No Contact Order" is an order placed on a case by a judge when a victim requests it or the judge feels it is in the best interest of the victim(s). This means there is to be no contact directly or indirectly or by a third party with the victim(s). The accused may not call, write, come over, email, nor harass or intimidate the victim(s) or anyone else involved in the case (like family members).
If the order is violated you must contact either the prosecutor or the Pre-Trial Services Program. This is in direct violation of a court order and a warrant can be issued for the defendant's arrest.
If you do not feel safe with only a "No Contact Order," you may want to look into getting a Civil Protection Order or a Domestic Violence Criminal Temporary Protection Order. Both are described in other questions.
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To meet with a Domestic Violence Legal Advocate who will support and educate victims at the arraignment and continue to work with them long after the criminal process is closed, if needed. Assistance will be provided on a one on one basis, both within and outside the courtroom with safety issues taking precedence.
a) Will someone contact me if I'm not present?
The Domestic Violence Legal Advocate will make every attempt to call each victim by phone the morning of the arraignment as long as there is a number on the police report where he/she can be reached. It is important to leave a number where you can be contacted, as well as a relative or friend’s number that can contact you if needed. If you need a DVTPO (Domestic Violence Criminal Temporary Protection Order) you MUST be present for the arraignment (first time) court.
b) Who can I contact to make sure someone is in court with me?
The Domestic Violence Legal Advocate's office: Call 330-830-2596 as soon as there has been an arrest made. Leave a message and a phone number where you can be reached and your call will be returned as soon as possible. If the arrest was made on the weekend, leave a message and your call will be returned before time for the arraignment.
a) Who can a victim contact if they would like an escort to court?
If you are a victim of domestic violence you can contact an advocate at 330-455-9566. Andrea can be reached at ext. 223 and Jennifer can be reached at ext. 231. They are available Monday-Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm. Victims can also call the 24 hour family violence information hotline at 330-453-SAFE (7233) to reach an advocate and to obtain information on getting a protection order.
b) Will someone contact me if I am not present at court?
Yes, an advocate will contact you following the arraignment to give you information on the case, our agency and how to pursue a long-term protection order if needed. However, it is best for you to be present at the arraignment in the morning following the domestic violence arrest.
c) What should I expect when I go to court?
At the arraignment you will meet with an advocate that is available to escort you through the entire legal process. You will have the opportunity to obtain a DVTPO (Domestic Violence Criminal Temporary Protection Order) at that time. To obtain this order you will need to be present at the arraignment. You will also need to complete paper work at prosecutor’s office requesting the DVTPO. The office is located on the 7th floor of Canton City Hall . An advocate will assist you in this process as needed. You will not have to testify at the arraignment and will not usually have face to face contact with your abuser. You will receive information on future court hearings and will have the opportunity to speak with a prosecutor about the case. Advocates will be on hand to offer support, information, safety planning, case management, and referrals as needed.
Victims of criminal offenses should be accorded with fairness, and respect in the criminal justice process, be accorded reasonable and appropriate notice, information, access, protection and to a meaningful role in the process. To this end the Prosecutor or Court can provide information to victims on:
a) Will someone contact me regarding court hearings?
The Alliance City Prosecutor’s office, in collaboration with the Stark County Prosecutor, has a Victim Advocate Representative assigned to Alliance who will attempt to contact you via telephone and/or mail regarding upcoming court hearings to assist you and explain procedures. Victims are also generally sent a subpoena from the Prosecutor to appear at all pre-trial hearings. It is important that you leave a number where you can be contacted.
b) Who can I call?
You can call the Alliance Prosecutors Office (330-823-6610) to gain information about upcoming court dates. This office can give you the name and number of the victim advocate assigned to your case. The prosecutor assigned to handle the pre-trial and the advocate can give you more information about services available.
You may also call the Alliance Domestic Violence Shelter (330-823-7223) about initiating criminal charges, having an advocate present and about any other issues or services available to victims. The Shelter can explain all available courses of action to help you protect yourself, your family, and your possessions as well as help develop a safety plan for you and your children. They can also assist you with a DVTPO or CPO as well.
c) How do I get a DVTPO (Domestic Violence Criminal Temporary Protection Order)?
A DVTPO (Domestic Violence Criminal Temporary Protection Order) is available only when the offender has been arrested for Domestic Violence. To apply for a DVTPO you must appear before the Judge. This can be done before the arraignment or immediately thereafter. You must call the Alliance Prosecutor’s Office to get a DVTPO and this order, if granted, is only valid as long as the case is pending.
Arraignments are typically held in the Alliance Municipal Court at 1 o’clock p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. A victim has the right but is not required to be present at arraignment.
If you are being stalked or if you are the victim of a sexually oriented offense, you need to first call the police. Give them accurate dates and times of specific events where this person has harassed you or sexually abused you. Make a report with the police department. Keep a log or a journal with specific dates and times about situations for future reference. You can contact the stalking advocate at the Domestic Violence Project if you need assistance. The stalking advocate will be able to provide you with a log-book, a camera, 911 cell phone, and information regarding stalking laws in Ohio. The stalking advocate for the Canton/Massillon area can be reached at 330-453-SAFE. (330-453-7233). For the Alliance area victims, you call 330-823-7223.
If you are being stalked or are the victim of a sexually oriented offense and you need protection from your stalker or abuser, you can file the necessary forms to petition the Court for a Civil Stalking or Sexually Oriented Offense Protection Order (SSOOPO). Like a CPO, you will need to complete several forms, some of which will be notarized. (The SSOOPO Petition, an affidavit or statement of facts describing your abuse, and Ex Parte SSOOPO, and a Form 10-A). The forms can be obtained from the Common Pleas Clerk of Courts. Community Legal Aid Services offers assistance in completing the forms for those persons who qualify. Community Legal Aid Services is located at the Renkert Building, 306 Market Avenue, North, Suite 730, Canton, Ohio 44702. An application for assistance can be completed Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to Noon and 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
A Magistrate will hear your case to determine if your situation qualifies for a SSOOPO. At the first hearing, you will testify in front of a Magistrate without the abuser present. The Magistrate will decide at that time if an Ex Parte SSOOPO will be issued. A second hearing will be scheduled within 10 business days, at which time the abuser has a chance to testify on his/her own behalf. A SSOOPO could be issued at that hearing and may be valid for up to five years.
You should contact your local law enforcement agency and advise them of the situation. They normally will send one or two officers to the location you wish to obtain your belongings from. They will advise the respondent that you are there to obtain your belongings. BE ADVISED! Most law enforcement agencies will only allow you to spend 10-15 minutes to obtain personal clothing and hygiene items. If you wish to obtain more than these items, you must make a list of items and obtain a court order for the standby while these items are retrieved, the court order must be specific.