Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)
Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) describes physical or sexual violence by a current or former partner of the victim. IPV crime happens every day, and touches every ethnicity, income level, age, gender, religion and other demographic in Tarrant County. Currently, one in three women in Tarrant County will be affected by IPV at some point in her lifetime.
Combatting IPV is one of this office's highest priorities, working actively not only in the courtroom, but also in the community to assist survivors, educate our citizens and aggressively prosecute IPV offenders.
In the fall of 2016, Tarrant County Commissioners approved a new special team designed to prosecute felony IPV cases. This team consists of five full-time Assistant Criminal District Attorneys, two Investigators and a support staff member. Additionally, there is a Misdemeanor Court focused on the prosecution of lower-level domestic violence offenses.
Our Protective Order team assists IPV survivors seeking protection from their abusers. A protective order is issued by a court with civil jurisdiction that orders an abusive person to refrain from committing family violence, threatening or harassing the victim, or going within a specified distance of their home or place of employment (or school/childcare facility of minor victims). Unlike a restraining order, which is enforceable only by civil contempt, a protective order is criminally enforceable and valid for up to two years. Violation of a protective order is a criminal offense and the Code of Criminal Procedure authorizes law enforcement officers to arrest violators without a warrant in some situations.
- Q: How long will my court case take? A: There is no specific timeline for a case moving through the court system. It is not unusual for a case to take more than a year to conclude.
- Q: Who do I have talk to? A: The decision of who you speak with is up to you. The interest of the defense attorney is to represent their client. It is a good idea to ask for identification and contact information of anyone who contacts you. If someone tries to talk to you about your case, you should know that all Criminal District Attorney (CDA) employees have badges which identify their employment.
- Q: What if the defendant tries to talk to me? A: If there is a protective order or bond condition in place not to communicate with the defendant, the defendant can be charged for communicating with you.
- Q: Who will I interact with at the CDA’s Office? A: Assistant Criminal District Attorney (ACDA)- the Attorney representing the State of Texas and the Criminal District Attorney Sharen Wilson. Investigator- the law enforcement officer who works with the ACDA to further investigate case and prepare for trial. This is not the detective from the local police department who filed the case. Victim Assistance Coordinator (VAC)- CDA employees who will guide you through the court process and assist you with the appropriate community resources once your case is filed.
- Q: What if I want to drop charges? A: The CDA’s Office makes the ultimate decision of whether or not to proceed with a case based on the evidence available. Your opinion is important and will be relayed to the defense counsel. We do not generate Affidavits of Non-Prosecution and signing an affidavit will not stop prosecution.
- Q: I did not receive a copy of my Emergency Protective Order (EPO), can you help me? A: Yes. Click here to contact your VAC to help you locate a copy of the document.
- Q: My EPO is about to expire, what do I do? A: You may be eligible to obtain a full protective order. To request assistance from CDA’s Protective Order team, click here. You may also hire a private attorney to assist you. It is also possible for the ACDA to request a bond condition that will prevent contact beyond the EPO. The court will make the final decision.
- Q: Will I have to testify? A: It depends. Most cases are resolved without a trial. The only time you will be called to testify is in a hearing or a trial. The ACDA will inform you in advance of the court date and go over your testimony. During a hearing or trial, the ACDA, the defense attorney, and the judge may question you.
- Q: Will I have to see the offender? A: It depends. If there is a hearing or a trial, the defendant has a right to be present and will be in the court room. There is a separate area in our building for witnesses who will testify. Courtrooms are staffed with bailiffs.
- Q: Do I need to attend every court setting dates? A: No. If your presence is required, the ACDA or the investigator will contact you. Otherwise, there is not much to see or do at court settings. If you choose to attend settings, it is likely you will see the defendant. If you would like to attend court settings, please let your VAC know in advance so they can assist you.
- Know your criminal case number.
- Update your VAC with any change of address or phone number.
- Create a safe word with the ACDA, Investigator and VAC for calls.
- Provide an alternate person for our office to contact.
- Know the terms of your Emergency Protective Order (EPO), Protective Order (PO) and the defendant’s bond conditions.
- Always keep a copy of your EPO or PO with you.
- Dial 911, if the defendant violates an EPO or a PO. Once you are safe call the ACDA or VAC.
- Apply for a longer standing protective order.
- Talk to the ACDA, Investigator or VAC about safety concerns for court appearances.
- Keep copies of text messages, social media direct messages or posts, pictures of injuries, and correspondence from the defendant.
- Talk to your VAC about ways to stay safe and informed about defendant’s release from jail, address confidentiality, counseling, medical compensation, emergency shelter, and possible relocation assistance.
- Complete a Victim Impact Statement.
- Know your rights as Victim of Intimate Partner Violence!
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