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Yes, the Caldwell County Department of Social Services, Family Resource Center, Shelter Home of Caldwell County, and others have resources to assist victims of domestic violence in getting out and getting over.
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Domestic Violence is defined as a pattern of physical, sexual, or emotionally abusive behaviors used by one individual to assert power or maintain control over another individual in the context of an intimate or family relationship.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, make someone aware of it. Get help by any means. If you are in immediate danger, dial 911. Someone will come to your home as quickly and safely as possible to assist you in getting out. If you can leave, then do so. Get to a neighbor's home, or somewhere safe, inside your car, in another room, etc. Take your phone with you. It may be your only means of summoning help.
Once you are out, steps can be taken to get you to a safe place including a shelter or a friend's or relative's home. We want to help you help yourself. It is our goal to put an end to your abusive relationship.
To obtain a protective order, a person goes to the Clerk of Court's Office in the Courthouse, and sees a civil clerk. Tell the clerk you are there to obtain a Protective Order, properly called a Domestic Violence Ex-Parte Order. Once you have that paperwork, fill out the forms in their entirety. Put as much information on them as possible. Be very specific about any acts and the dates that they occurred. Be sure to put any assaults that may have happened, and why you are in fear of the person on whom you are getting the order. Once you have done this, take the paperwork back to the Clerk's Office and the Clerk will have you swear or affirm to the information you are giving. Then they will send you to the courtroom, or by some other means, get you in front of a judge. You will testify to a Judge, sometimes in front of others in open court, why you are in fear or what the abuser has done to hurt you or make you scared. Once the judge gives his ruling, they will send you back to the Clerk's Office to complete the paperwork. When the paperwork is completed, you will bring the copies to the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office for service of the person.
As of October 1, 2002, there is no charge for a Protective Order. There are also no fees associated with the service of the order.
If you are in immediate danger, call 911. Apart from that, there are several steps in handling a violation. If an officer responds to you and finds that probable cause exists, he can arrest the suspect for the violation without a warrant. The officer can also leave the scene and attempt to locate the suspect and place him under arrest. The officer can also obtain a warrant for the suspect and arrest him later. The victim can also go get a warrant for the violation, or the victim can obtain a show cause for the violation from the clerk's office.
If your spouse, partner, child, boyfriend, girlfriend has pushed, hit, slapped, held you down, pinched, kicked, or choked you, then an assault has occurred under the law. That person should not be allowed to get away with that kind of destructive behavior. If you choose, go to the Magistrate’s Office, swear to a warrant for that person’s arrest, and if the Magistrate finds probable cause exists and issues a warrant, the defendant / suspect will be arrested. You will then have a court date to appear and tell exactly what happened.
You can contact the Caldwell Detention Facility at 828-759-1510 and advise the supervisor on duty that you want to be notified of a defendant's release to prevent the likelihood of further acts of violence. A more failsafe means of notification is SA.V.A.N., or the Statewide Automated Victim Assistance and Notification program. A person can register to be notified by computer if their abuser is released from custody anywhere in North Carolina by calling 877-627-2826. Prompts will guide you on how to register. This system is updated every 15 minutes and it is free of charge.
There is a great deal of misconceptions concerning this portion of the Domestic Violence Laws. NC General Statutes state that the only person who can set a bond in a domestic violence case is a judge. It also says that if a judge is available, then a bond must be set. If a judge is not available, then the defendant will be held for 48 hours following arrest. Once that time expires, the Magistrate is authorized by law to set bond. In Caldwell County, there is usually some form of court going on every day, Monday through Friday. In that case, if a person is arrested while court is going on, the defendant will be taken before a judge for the purpose of a bond hearing. If a judge is not available and the defendant cannot contact one, then he/she will be held until the next time a judge is available which is usually the next morning or until the 48-hour period expires, whichever comes first.