Stark County Domestic Violence Collaborative

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1) Who can I call if I need help as a victim of domestic violence?

2) What is a Civil Protection Order, and how do I obtain one?

3) What happens if the respondent violates the CPO?

4) What if I need legal assistance, and cannot afford an attorney?

5) What is a Temporary Protection Order, and how do I obtain one?

6) What is a No Contact Order, and how do I obtain one?

7) What can I do if the No Contact Order is violated?

8) What are the terms I might hear in court, and what do they mean?

9) What should I expect when I go to Massillon Court?

10) What should I expect when I go to Canton Municipal Court?

11) What should I expect when I go to Alliance Municipal Court?

12) What do I do if I'm being stalked, or if I'm the victim of a sexually oriented offense?

13) What do I do to close out a Civil Standby in order to obtain my belongings?

14) Will I have to face the person in court?

15) What are the terms associated with protection orders?

1)  Who can I call if I need help as a victim of domestic violence?

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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2)  What is a Civil Protection Order and how do I obtain one?

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:

  • You are/were married to the abuser or are/were related to the abuser in some way by marriage, such as an in-law, or stepchild; or
  • You have a child with the abuser; or
  • You have lived with the abuser in the last five years and have been involved in a sexual or romantic relationship (platonic roomates are not eligible); or are the parent or child of someone who has; or
  • You are related to the abuser by blood, such as a brother, sister, mother, etc.
In order to petition the court for a CPO you must complete several forms, some of which need to be notarized.  (The CPO Petition, an affidavit or statement of facts describing your domestic violence abuse, an Ex Parte (temporary) CPO, a Form 10-A, and if necessary an affidavit for Parenting Proceeding).  A family court magistrate (6th floor of the Stark County Office Building) will hear your case to determine if your situation qualifies for a CPO.  At this 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 CPO will be issued.  If an Ex Parte CPO is issued the abuser will be served with the documents by the sheriff deputy.  A second hearing will be held within 7 to 10 business days, at which time the abuser has a chance to testify on his/her behalf.  A Civil Protection Order could be issued at that hearing and may be valid for up to five years.  For more information contact Community Legal Aid Services or your local domestic violence shelter.
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3)  What happens if the respondent violates the CPO?

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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4)  What if I need legal assistance and cannot afford an attorney?

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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5)  What is a Domestic Violence Criminal Temporary Protection Order (DVTPO) and how do I obtain one?

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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6)  What is a "No Contact Order" and how do I obtain one?

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).

You may request a No Contact Order in one of the following ways:
•  Appear in court and request no contact.
•  Contact the prosecutor's office where the case is being heard.
•  Contact the domestic violence advocate.
•  Contact the pre-trial service officer.
*You DO NOT have to be present in court to have a No Contact Order issued.  However, you do have to appear in court in front of the judge to have the order lifted.
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7)  What can I do if the "No Contact Order" is violated?

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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8)  What are the terms I might hear in court and what do they mean?

Arraignment:

First appearance in court to answer to charges filed.
Case Number:
The number assigned to designate the file. Included is the year, and type of case. CRA designates a felony* charge. CRB designates a misdemeanor*.
Common Pleas Court:
Felony court.
Defendant:
The person accused of committing a crime.
Docket:
Upon the filing of a criminal action the clerk shall assign each action to a number, also known as the case number*.
SRCC:
Star County community Corrections Center, serving Stark county, and other courts. In house felony* treatment program.
Felony:
A crime that can carry prison time.
Grand Jury:
The prosecutor* presents evidence to Grand Jurors that investigate accusations, and indicts* persons for trials* if there is sufficient evidence
Indict(ment):
To charge with a crime.
Trial:
Court proceedings in which a jury, or a judge decides the issues of fact to determine the guilt of a defendant*. Witness/victims will testify at this proceeding.
Misdemeanor:
The charge can carry county jail time, no prison time.
Municipal Court:
The city court that administers the law within the city. This court cannot sentence a felony* charge.
Preliminary Hearing:
The next hearing held after the arraignment* when the charge is a felony*. This hearing is held at the municipal level in front of a judge to determine if probable cause* exists to bind the case to the grand jury in the Common Pleas Court*.
Pre-Trial:
Where the prosecutor*, defense attorney, and judge discuss the merits of a case. The case may, or may not be resolved.
Prosecute:
To conduct legal action against an accused in a criminal action.
Prosecutor:
Attorney for the state who prosecutes* the case.
Subpoena:
An order issued under authority of a court to compel the appearance of a witness at a judicial proceeding, the disobedience of which may be punishable as a contempt of court* charge.
Contempt of Court:
The penalty for contempt of court is a fine, or imprisonment for a specific period of time
Community Control Sanctions:
A form of probation.
Judicial Release:
A form of probation after a defendant* has served some time in prison, but not the full sentence.
Post Release Control:
A form of parole whereby the defendant* is monitored after he or she has served his, or her full sentence.
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9)  What can I expect when I go to Massillon Court?

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.

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10)  What can I expect when I go to Canton Municipal Court?

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.

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11)  What can I expect when I go to Alliance Municipal Court?

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:

  • Name of Offender and/or Offense
  • Case File Number
  • Explanation of Upcoming Procedures
  • Statement of Victim’s Right to be Present
  • Procedures if Victim is Threatened
  • Name and Number of Victim Advocate as Contact Person
  • Victim’s Right to have representation
  • Notice of Court Proceedings
  • Delays in Prosecution

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.

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12)  What do I do if I'm being stalked, or if I'm the victim of a sexually oriented offense?

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.

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13)  What do I do to close out a Civil Standby in order to obtain my belongings?

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.

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14)  Will I have to face the person in court?

Arraignment:
You do not need to appear unless you want a DVTPO, or a no contact order.
Preliminary Hearing:
For all three Municipal Courts (Canton, Massillon, and Alliance) you may receive a subpoena to appear and testify. The case could remain in the Municipal Court and be resolved as a misdemeanor. If not, the case will be bound over for Grand Jury.
Alliance Municipal Court Pre-Trial:
You will receive a subpoena, but not necessarily have to testify. Final Pre Trial (Call of the Docket) occurs on a Monday, if the case is not resolved, a Trial will follow on that Thursday of the same week, and you will receive a subpoena for the Trial.
Canton Municipal Court Pre-Trial:
You will not be issued a subpoena nor do you have to testify unless the case goes to Trial.
Massillon Municipal Court Pre-Trials:

A letter will be sent to you if you're needed for the pre-trial.
Grand Jury:
You will be subpoenaed to testify. The defendant will not be at the Grand Jury hearing, nor will his attorney. If the case gets indicted then you will not get a subpoena again until the time of Trial.
Trial:
You will receive a subpoena to appear, at which time you will have to face the defendant.

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15)  What are terms associated with protection orders?

CPO:
A Civil Protection Order is a court order from Family Court issued to a victim from an abuser. Issued by Domestic Relations Court. The victim must be a family or household member of the abusers. A CPO can include orders regarding temporary allocation of parental rights, child support, spousal support, automobiles, real estate, etc. A CPO is not to be used in lieu of a divorce.
Family or Household Member:
A victim, and abuser must have a certain relationship in order to quality for an CPO.
Any of the following who resides with or has resided with the abuser:
    • A spouse, a person living as a spouse, or a former spouse.
    • A parent or a child of the abuser, or another person immediately related to the abuser.
    • A parent or a child of a spouse, person living as a spouse, or former spouse of the abuser, or another person immediately related.
    • When the victim and abuser have a child together. It is not necessary that the parties ever live together.
Person Living as a Spouse:
A person who is living with or has lived with the abuser within the last five years in a common law marriage relationship, has an intimate relationship with the abuser, or is otherwise living together as if they were married.
Family Court:
Domestic Relations Court located at 110 Central Plaza South, Stark County Office Building; Sixth Floor, Canton.
Common Pleas Court:
Felony court located at 115 Central Plaza North, Canton.
Petitioner:
The victim.
Respondent:
The abuser.
DVTPO:
Domestic Violence Criminal Temporary Protection Order: A Court Order issued typically by the Municipal Court during an arraignment of an abuser when there are pending domestic violence charges.
SSOOPO:
Civil Stalking or Sexually Oriented Offense Protection Order: A Court Order issued to protect victims of stalking or sexually oriented offenses from the stalker/abuser. Issued by the Common Pleas Court. There does not need to be a relationship between the victim and stalker/abuser.
Ex Parte Hearing:
This is a hearing where only the victim (can have a victim’s advocate or attorney also) and the magistrate are present. The abuser is not present. The victim must show probable cause that the Court should issue an Ex Parte Order (or temporary order) for protection, either a CPO or a SSOOPO. This order continues for 7 – 10 business days or until a final hearing can be held. The abuser has the opportunity to testify and present evidence at the final hearing.

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