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  • Writer's pictureJennifer LaVia


Updated: Sep 14, 2021

Learn more about the options you have in a domestic violence matter.

A domestic violence injunction, or DVI, is a court order to protect someone from violence

committed by a family member (which includes former spouses, the other parent of the victim’s

children, and people who live together). A victim can file a petition for DVI without a lawyer,

using this form. The person who files a petition is called the “Petitioner” and the other party is

called the “Respondent.” Legal help may also be available from Refuge House, a shelter for

victims of domestic violence.

If the petition alleges facts that show immediate danger, a temporary injunction will be issued.

Then a hearing will be scheduled and the Respondent will be served by the Sheriff’s Office.

Hearings are held in Leon County several times a week. Currently these hearings are by Zoom.

All the DV cases are set at the same time, which means that other people will be watching the

hearing. One of the advantages of Zoom is that victims do not have to sit in the same courtroom

with their abusers.

The Petitioner has to prove the case, which may include witnesses who saw abuse or injuries, or

heard the Respondent making threats. Pictures of injuries and screenshots of text messages with threats may also be useful. If the Petitioner doesn’t show up for the hearing, the injunction will be dismissed. The Respondent doesn’t have to prove anything but will want to bring evidence to respond to the Petitioner’s case. And if the Respondent doesn’t show up, the injunction may be

issued. An injunction may just be a piece of paper, but it can be powerful because if the Respondent violates the injunction, law enforcement can be called and an arrest can be made. But in some cases, a piece of paper is not enough, and the victim needs to seek safety in a shelter like Refuge House.

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