If anyone who is living with you or has lived with you in the past has been violent toward you, you can report domestic violence by petitioning the court for an Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence. This free-to-file legal document is casually called a restraining order. This process can help to prevent future problems. Note that in most cases, the person must live with you or have lived with you in the past for the crime to be considered domestic violence.
There is one situation in which you do not have to have lived in the same residence: when the attacker is the other parent of your child. It’s also considered a form of domestic abuse if the person has not harmed you but has made you feel in danger through their words or actions.
To get more information on this important and free protection, contact the Polk County Clerk of Courts Domestic Violence Department at (863) 534-4184. Alternately, you can go in person to the Domestic Violence Department by visiting its office on the 1st floor of the Polk County Courthouse. There is no fee to report domestic violence or to file this order.
Beyond this injunction, there are also numerous other resources, such as hotlines and police-run support programs, where you can get help.
Legally, filing an injunction is just the first step to stop the violence and prevent any ongoing issues. You can also speak with an experienced attorney to develop a strong legal strategy to protect you and your family long-term.