Legal Options in Vermont
Assault is a crime!
Assault is a crime even if your partner is the person abusing you or your children. Threats of harm, damage to property, stalking and harassment are also crimes.
What are your legal options?
Your local police are there to protect and serve you. You can call the police anytime your safety is in danger. The police will take steps to ensure your protection and help you contact other agencies.
After arriving on the scene and insuring your safety, the police will initiate criminal charges if they believe domestic assault took place. You will not need to press charges. The police will make that determination.
Regardless of police involvement, you may be able to obtain a Relief from Abuse Order (RFA), which is similar to a restraining order. You may request certain conditions to be outlined within the order, which are then subject to court approval. For example, you may request that your abuser leave the home and remain 100 feet away from you and your family at all times. You can also request temporary custody of your children. An RFA will only be granted if your abuser is your spouse or partner, a member of your family or someone with whom you are in a dating relationship. Here is some key information about obtaining an RFA:
- RFA’s can be obtained without a lawyer and are free.
- You can seek a Temporary Relief from Abuse Order (TRA) that may be granted immediately by applying at the Family Court, 32 Cherry Street, Burlington, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. After 4:30 p.m and on the weekends, an emergency TRA can be obtained at the local police department.
- Upon receiving a TRA, a Permanent Relief from Abuse Order (PRA) hearing at Family Court will be scheduled within 10 days.
WHBW offers free advocacy and support to women seeking a protection order. We strongly encourage you to call our hotline for a completely confidential discussion of your circumstances. Every situation is unique and we can help you prepare for the court process. In addition, a WHBW advocate can be present at Family Court and for PRA hearings.