Domestic Abuse Lawyer Stephen Rue
The below is an excerpt from Louisiana Divorce Handbook (Available on Amazon.com), with Express Permission of Author Louisiana Domestic Abuse Lawyer Stephen Rue. @ All Rights Reserved, Stephen Rue 2014.
Se habla español 504-443-2000.
Stephen Rue & Associates Law Firm serves the entire state of Louisiana. Our Louisiana domestic abuse lawyer routinely represents clients regarding legal matters in New Orleans, Gretna, Kenner, Metairie, Covington, Slidell, Abita Springs, Westwego, Harvey, Algiers, Harahan, River Ridge, Destrehan, Hahnville, Boutte, Houma, Belle Chasse, Lafitte, LaPlace, Chalmette, Westbank, Eastbank, Causeway Bridge, I-10, Thibodaux, Baton Rouge, Orleans Parish, Jefferson Parish, St. Tammany Parish, St. Charles Parish, St. John the Baptist Parish, East Baton Rouge Parish, St. James Parish, St. Bernard Parish, Plaquemines Parish and other areas of Louisiana.
PREVENT ABUSE AND HARASSMENT
1. NATIONAL STATISTICS ON
According to the FBI 85% of domestic violence victims are women. Battered persons come from all socioeconomic classes. It is also estimated that approximately 85% of children who live in violent homes personally witness domestic violence.
Experts estimate each year approximately 3 to 10 million children are impacted by domestic violence. Law enforcement officers spend approximately one-third of their time responding to domestic violence complaints. Annually, over one million women seek medical assistance as a result of injuries caused by domestic battery. Of the 3.5 million cases of alleged child abuse reported to child protection agencies annually, investigators verify that 1,250,000 children had been neglected and/or abused. Approximately 16 out of every 1,000 children are verified victims of abuse. Of these abused children, 26 percent of the children were physically abused, 15 percent were sexually abused, 45 percent were neglected, and 3 percent endured emotional abuse. The remaining 12 percent of the abused children encountered other abuse or abandonment. Unfortunately, we have no idea how many cases of neglect and abuse go unreported. Most abuse occurs at home.
The Child Protection Services Agencies have confirmed approximately 2,000 annual fatalities related to child abuse and neglect. In seems almost
inconceivable that nearly five or six children perish each day from abuse or neglect.
2. LOUISIANA STATISTICS ON
According to the Governor’s Office of Women’s Services Louisiana’s domestic violence shelters and related programs served over 19,219 women and 13,318 in twelve months.
3. FORMS OF DOMESTIC ABUSE
Abuse can take three basic forms:
1. Harassment-This abuse takes the form of verbal and non-verbal acts that are intended to emotionally hurt, demean, and ridicule the other person;
2. Physical Abuse-This abuse involves acts of physical contact intended to create fear, pain and/or injury to the other person; and
3. Sexual Abuse-This abuse involves acts of nonconsensual sexual behavior often accompanied by the threat of force or greater emotional pain. Sexual abuse also can take the form of sexual demands, violence, and fetishes.
The most common trait of someone who is being abused is that he mistakenly believes that the abuser will change and ultimately cease the abuse. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case without significant legal and mental health intervention. The abuser’s primary goal is to control, manipulate, and have power over the victim.
Abuse is behavior used to control or dominate the other person by means of threats, manipulation, physical and/or sexual assaults. The abuser creates hurtful feelings of fear, insecurity, helplessness, guilt, paranoia, rejection, isolation, humiliation, ridicule, shame, denial, and/or depression. The abuse is often accompanied by chemical and/or financial dependency. A major hurdle that you must overcome is the fear of the abuser’s retaliation.
According to the United States Department of Justice, although victims of abuse can be either men or women, approximately ninety-five (95%) percent of reported abuse victims are women. The pervasiveness of abuse in our society is appalling, with most cases remaining unreported.
The first rule to follow if you or your children are being abused is to apply the following tip:
4. IMMEDIATELY PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN
The safest way to protect your children and yourself is to flee to a safe location. If that is not possible, immediately call the police and/or your lawyer.
The safest action is to:
1. Flee with your children
2. Call the police
3. Call your attorney
To flee is not an act of cowardice; it is usually the most prudent thing for you to do. Be sure to keep your location a secret from your abusive spouse.
6. ASK THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS AS YOU DEVELOP A “SAFETY PLAN:”
(Source: Metropolitan Battered Women’s Program)
· Am I knowledgeable about the shelter, legal, and welfare options in my community?
· Do I have reliable transportation?
· Do I have the number to a hotline for abused women?
· Do I know about restraining orders?
· Do I have a friend that I can “safely” call if things get really bad? Can I identify myself to my friend? Is there some sort of code that the two of us could devise?
· Can I predict what will happen to me if I do leave? What should I anticipate and plan for now?
· Does he know the whereabouts of all of my friends or relatives? Whose home might be considered for a safe refuge?
· Whose whereabouts does he know? Would they set up a communication linkage with me in the event that he looks for me there?
· What can I do so that I’m not found?
· In the event that I need to go to go to another state, do I have national shelter phone numbers?
· In the event that I need to leave hurriedly, do I have and extra set of keys for the house or car?
· Do I have access to money? Credit cards? Do I have blank checks?
· Do I have quick access to all important documents, like birth certificates, social security cards, car registration, etc.?
· So I know what toy or blanket will make my child feel secure?
7. WHERE TO GO
A significant problem of most people being abused by their spouse is that they have no planned destination in the event that abuse or a threat of abuse occurs.
8. CONTACT THE LOUISIANA FAMILY VIOLENCE PROGRAM IN YOUR AREA
Alcasieu Women’s Shelter
Lake Charles, LA
Capitol Area Family Violence Intervention Center
Baton Rouge, LA
New Orleans, LA
D.A.R.T. of Lincoln
Family Counseling Agency/ Turning Point Center
318-448-0284; 318-442-7196; 800-960-9436
Jeff Davis Communities Against Domestic Abuse
June N. Jenkins Women’s Shelter
Baton Rouge, LA
Metropolitan Battered Women’s Program
504-837-5455; Crisis 504-837-8900
New Start Center
St. Martinville, LA
Safety Net For Abused Persons/S.N.A.P.
New Iberia, LA
Southeast Spouse Abuse Program
Hammond, LA 70404
St. Bernard Battered Women’s Program
Taylor House/Project Celebration
Y.W.C.A. of Northeast
Y.W.C.A. of Greater New Orleans B.W.P,
New Orleans, LA
Y.W.C.A. of Northwest Louisiana
For assistance in areas not listed, contact the Governor’s Office of Women’s Policy at 225-922-0959
Consider temporary housing with the following:
2. New Apartment
3. Other family members
5. Shelters for Battered Women (or Men)
7. YMCA or YWCA
8. Community Centers
10. Other Shelters and/or
11. Your own house or apartment after it is secured and/or restraining orders or peace bonds have been placed against the abuser
8. GO TO A BATTERED WOMEN’S SHELTER
OR A RAPE CRISIS CENTER
Use the local yellow pages to find the hospitals, clinics, and treatment programs that are available in your community. There are over one thousand battered women’s shelters across the country. The yellow pages usually lists these services under the following categories:
“Crisis Intervention Services”
Should you be unsuccessful in finding a battered women’s shelter or rape crisis center through the telephone directory or directory assistance, then call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at the following number:
This Hotline is answered twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays. They can refer you to shelters in your community. For additional information regarding protecting yourself and your family from abuse, call the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence at the following number: (303) 839-1852.
Many of these shelters will allow you to stay there for up to one or two months.
If your child is being abused, telephone the National Child Abuse Hotline at the following number: 1-800-422-4453.
9. SPOUSAL RAPE
The primeval notion that a husband, while married, cannot rape his own wife is coming to an end. Many states have implemented criminal laws that create crimes should one spouse force the other into non-consensual sexual acts. Should this occur, contact the police or a rape crisis center.
10. LOVE AND RESPECT YOURSELF
A common trait of persons subjected to a long history of abuse is that they have learned to become helpless against the abuse. Continual degradation by the abuser creates learned helplessness and insecurity in the victim. The victim believes that she or he cannot predict the behavior of the abuser and the victim feels a huge sense of having no control. You must understand that all violence is unacceptable. You are not to blame for the abuse, you are valuable and deserve to love and respect yourself.
11. LEAVE THE HOUSE OR GET A LAWYER
TO KEEP SPOUSE OUT OF HOUSE
State laws have been created that legally will force an abuser out of the house or apartment in which you live. You should contact your lawyer about the details necessary to accomplish these goals.
12. GET EX PARTE ORDERS AND/OR A PEACE BOND
Temporary court orders can assist you in most abusive situations. These orders can address the victim’s safety at home, work, school, and/or any other location that the victim may be. Such orders may also prohibit telephone threats of intimidation.
A peace bond is a court order that requires the abuser to put up money that will be forfeited to the court if the abuser violates the order.
Although your spouse may not have harassed you during your marriage, it is remarkable the acts of harassment and abuse that occur after one files for a divorce. Like Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde, your once passive spouse may become a dangerous monster when issues regarding custody and money are raised. When in doubt, get a protective order against such potential harassment, stalking, violence, and/or abuse.
13. CHANGE LOCKS AND ALARM CODES
Should you get the sole possession of your residence, change the locks and alarm codes. If you don’t have an alarm, consider getting one. Many alarm companies offer personal alarm devices that you can wear around your neck. Once you press the button, you can immediately summon the police.
Also consider adding dead bolts, garage door locks, as well as locks to your fuse box.
14. GET EXTRA KEYS TO YOUR HOUSE AND CAR
As a measure of additional control, an abuser may take all of the keys to your house or car. In order to prevent the abuser’s desired result, have additional copies of your keys made and put them in a secure location outside of the abuser’s reach. Also consider keeping another set of keys in your wallet or purse.
15. CALL THE POLICE AND GET A POLICE REPORT
In many states, if you call the police as a result of your spouse striking you, the police officers shall have no alternative but to take your spouse to jail. Call 911 or your local police telephone number.
16. GET EVIDENCE OF YOUR ABUSE
1. Get a police report or incident number. Don’t forget to ask the police officer to write a police report. Get the incident number from the police officer, then later you or your attorney can get the police report. This can be a valuable tool in your divorce case.
2. Take photographs of any bruises, scratches, and cuts.
3. Go to a doctor and/or hospital.
4. Ask for your medical, psychological, and/or psychiatric records.
5. Get audio or video tapes.
6. Collect all pieces of physical evidence of the abuse including broken dishes, torn articles of clothing, weapons, and the like.
7. Get witnesses’ names, addresses and telephone numbers.
17. REQUEST TERMINATED OR SUPERVISED VISITATION OF YOUR SPOUSE
18. SAVE MONEY FOR EMERGENCY FUND
19. TALK WITH YOUR CHILDREN
Children can be affected by the abuse of a parent from the time the child is a fetus until he or she dies of old age. If abuse occurs, tell the children that they are not to blame themselves for the abuse. Tell them that you will protect them and encourage them to talk about their concerns. The generation cycle of abuse must stop through your courage to end the abuse and seek appropriate counseling.
20. PREVENT EXCESSIVE CORPOREAL PUNISHMENT BY YOUR SPOUSE
Many parents take the disciplining of a child to an extreme that borders on and/or crosses the line of abuse. Should your spouse use excessive force or extremely unorthodox measures to discipline the children, consider getting a court order against this excessive punishment. If the extreme corporeal punishment continues, consider the other measures discussed in this chapter.
21. LIST EMERGENCY TELEPHONE NUMBERS
Keep an list of telephone numbers to use in the case of an emergency. Keep the telephone numbers in a near and secure place.
22. STOP THE STALKER
Stalking is an obsessive pattern of behavior, primarily motivated by passion, anger and/or rejection, intended to get the attention of and/or frighten the victim. Most states have implemented anti-stalking laws that provide potentially harsh criminal penalties against the stalker.
Unfortunately, laws, police and courts cannot guarantee protection against a stalker. Avoiding contact with the stalker is your safest plan of action. You also may take self-defense classes and/or learn to use defensive weapons such as mace, pepper spray, and/or a whistle.
23. TAKE VALUABLES AND SENTIMENTAL ITEMS
Should you have the time to accumulate your valuable and sentimental items, do so. Once you leave or otherwise seek help, the abuser may hide, sell or destroy these items out of revenge and anger.
24. TAKE YOUR IMPORTANT RECORDS
If you leave the abuser, take all the important records that you can find. A list of the types of documents to look for can be found Number 4 of this book.
25. DO NOT TAKE THE LAW INTO
YOUR OWN HANDS
Do not shoot the abuser unless it is clearly in self defense and you are in legitimate and reasonable fear of severe bodily harm or death. The abuser is not worth going to prison over. Get the police involved and walk away.
26. ALERT WORK, SCHOOLS,
AND DAY-CARE CENTERS
Your spouse may attempt to harass you at work. Alert your boss, the receptionist and the building security of any potential problems.
Your spouse also may attempt to take your children out of their school or day-care facility. Have your lawyer get an order prohibiting your spouse from contacting your children at school and from taking the children away from the school or day-care center. Once you have this order, provide the principal, pertinent teachers, and day-care providers with a certified copy of the order instructing them to call you and the police should your spouse attempt to violate the order.
27. DOMESTIC ABUSE AND VIOLENCE HOTLINES
National Domestic Violence Hotline
(National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)1 (800) 333-SAFE (7233)
For Hearing Impaired: 1 (800) 873-3636
National Child Abuse Hotline
1 (800) 422-4453
National Rape Crisis Center Hotline
28. MISSING CHILDREN HOTLINES
For Assistance to Runaway or Abducted Children:CALL 1 (800) I AM LOST
(Child Find, Inc.)
CALL 1 (800) 999-9999
For Assistance for Parental Abductors:
CALL 1 (800) A WAY OUT
NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN
CALL 1 (800) 843-5678
CALL 1 (800) THE LOST
NATIONAL RUNAWAY SWITCHBOARD HOTLINE
CALL 1 (800) 231-6946
29. INJUNCTIONS/PEACE BONDS/TEMPORARY RESTARIANING ORDERS/EX PARTE RELIEF
Acting swiftly to protect your rights is one of the most effective maneuvers in your divorce case. Insist that your lawyer file pleadings asking for Ex Parte Relief. Ex Parte Relief is simply a request for a judge to grant orders without a hearing or prior notice to your spouse. This is beneficial because your lawyer can ask for certain orders without your spouse or his or her lawyer being present in court to argue against your requests.
These Ex Parte requests seek temporary relief until a full blown hearing can occur. Ex Parte orders usually protect people and property.
1. Ask for an order of temporary physical custody of your children.
2. If you suspect abuse or neglect, ask for an order temporarily terminating the other parent’s visitation rights until an investigation into the allegations can be made.
3. Ask for an order preventing the other parent from taking the children out of your county/parish, state, or the jurisdiction of the court.
4. Ask for an order preventing the other parent from having someone of the opposite sex spend the night when he or she has physical custody of the children or are exercising his or her visitation rights.
5. Ask for an order requiring your spouse to stay a specified minimum distance from:
b. Your children;
c. Your residence;
d. Your place of employment;
e. Other family members that live with you;
f. Your children’s school;
g. Your children’s day care facility; and/or
h. Any other place that your children may be found.
6. Protect your children and yourself by asking for an order prohibiting your spouse from:
a. Any form of abuse;
b. Harassment; and/or
c. Alienation of your children’s affection.
30. THE LOUISIANA PROTECTIVE ORDER REGISTRY
In 1997 the Louisiana legislature passed La. R.S. 46.2136.2 (The Louisiana Protective Order Registry). The registry is the statewide repository for court orders issued for the purpose of preventing harassing, threatening, or violent acts against a spouse, intimate cohabitant, dating partner, family or household member. The registry is available to judges, prosecutors, probation officers, law enforcement personnel, victim assistance providers, and attorneys with specific information regarding specific orders and allegations. As of October 31, 2002, the registry contained 60,934 orders providing protection (Source:www.LPOR.org). For more information about the Registry, contact the registry Director:
Judicial Administrator’s Office
Louisiana Supreme Court
1555 Poydras Street, Suite 1540
New Orleans, LA 70112
LA-R.S. 46:2136.2 Louisiana Protective Order Registry
A. In order to provide a statewide registry for abuse prevention orders to prevent domestic violence and to aid law enforcement, prosecutors and the courts in handling such matters, there shall be created a Louisiana Protective Order Registry administered by the Judicial Administrator’s Office, Louisiana Supreme Court. The Judicial Administrator’s Office shall collect the data transmitted to it from the courts of the state and enter it into the Louisiana Protective Order Registry.
B. The Louisiana Protective Order Registry encompasses peace bonds, temporary restraining orders, protective orders, preliminary injunctions, permanent injunctions, and court-approved consent agreements resulting from actions brought pursuant to R.S. 46:2131 et seq., R.S. 9:361 et seq., R.S. 9:372,Children’s Code Article 1564 et seq., Code of Civil Procedure Article 3604, or as part of the disposition, sentence, or bail condition of a criminal matter pursuant to Code of Criminal Procedure Article 327.1 or 871.1 as long as such order is issued for the purpose of preventing violent or threatening acts or harassment against, contact or communication with, or physical proximity to, another person.
C. The courts of this state shall use a uniform form for the issuance of any protective or restraining order, which form shall be developed, approved, and distributed by the Judicial Administrator’s Office, shall be titled the “Uniform Abuse Prevention Order”.
D. The clerk of the issuing court shall send a copy of the order or any modification thereof to the Louisiana Protective Order Registry as expeditiously as possible but no later than by the end of the next business day after the order is filed with the clerk of court. Transmittal of the Uniform Abuse Prevention Order may be made by facsimile transmission, mail, or direct electronic input, where available, as expeditiously as possible, but no later than the end of the next business day after the order is filed with the clerk of court.
E. Upon formation, the registry shall immediately implement a daily process of expungement of records and names of the parties in all cases where either a temporary restraining order expires without conversion to an injunction or, after an evidentiary hearing, it is determined that a protective order is not warranted.
F. The judicial administrator’s office shall make the Louisiana Protective Order Registry available to state and local law enforcement agencies, district attorney offices, the Department of Social Services, office of family support, support enforcement services, and the courts.
31. USE YOUR TELEPHONE AS A SHIELD
AND A SWORD
Should your spouse start harassing you with repeated telephone calls and/or vulgar, threatening or emotional messages, consider the following:
1. Screen your telephone calls by getting an answering machine or using a voice mail system provided by your local telephone company. If your spouse leaves an inappropriate message, save the recorded message and give it to your attorney so that he can present it to the judge;
2. Change your telephone number to an unpublished listing;
3. Keep a written log of the dates, times and content of each and every harassing telephone call.
4. Use “Caller ID” which is provided by your local telephone company.
5. Use “Call Blocking” which is provided by your local telephone company. This service allows you to block out or otherwise prevent your spouse from calling from specific telephone numbers.
6. Use “Call Forwarding” which is provided by your local telephone company. Should your spouse continue to call you late at night with harassing telephone calls, simply call forward your telephone calls to your attorneys’ office or to a voice mail service.
7. Use “Call Tracing” which is provided by your local telephone company. The telephone company can provide documents that can prove calls were made from a certain location. You may need an appropriate person from the telephone company to come testify as to the accuracy and authenticity of these documents.
8. It’s extremely wise to ask for an order preventing your spouse from alienating, hiding, or disposing of property without a court order or without your written permission (exceptions are usually made for necessary and ordinary living expenses and regular business expenditures).
9. Likewise, you can ask for an order prohibiting your spouse from incurring greater debt which you might be responsible for, without a court order or your written permission (again, exceptions are usually made for necessary and ordinary living expenses and regular business expenditures).
10. If you own a business with your spouse, you can ask for an order that will:
a. Prohibit your spouse from firing or hiring certain critical employees;
b. Limiting business expenditures over a certain sum of money without your written approval or a court order; and/or
c. Compel a full accounting of all business operations.
Call your attorney. If abuse occurs, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at the following number:
The above is an excerpt from Louisiana Divorce Handbook (Available on Amazon.com), with Express Permission of Author Louisiana Family Law Attorney Stephen Rue. @ All Rights Reserved, Stephen Rue 2014.
Se habla español 504-443-2000.
Stephen Rue & Associates Law Firm serves the entire state of Louisiana. Our Louisiana lawyers routinely represent clients regarding legal matters in New Orleans, Gretna, Kenner, Metairie, Covington, Slidell, Abita Springs, Westwego, Harvey, Algiers, Harahan, River Ridge, Destrehan, Hahnville, Boutte, Houma, Belle Chasse, Lafitte, LaPlace, Chalmette, Westbank, Eastbank, Causeway Bridge, I-10, Thibodaux, Baton Rouge, Orleans Parish, Jefferson Parish, St. Tammany Parish, St. Charles Parish, St. John the Baptist Parish, East Baton Rouge Parish, St. James Parish, St. Bernard Parish, Plaquemines Parish and other areas of Louisiana.