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Understanding Domestic Violence

What is Domestic Violence?

Kentucky laws defines “domestic violence and abuse” as the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between “family members” or “members of an unmarried couple:”

  • Physical injury
  • Serious physical injury
  • Sexual abuse
  • Assault
  • Infliction of fear of imminent physical injury, serious physical injury, sexual abuse, or assault between family members or members of an unmarried couple.


Warning signs of domestic violence

Does your partner:

  • Control you?
  • Embarrass you?
  • Control what you wear or where you go?
  • Monitor your computer and cell phone activity?
  • Blame you for the abuse?
  • Make threats of harm?
  • Stalk you?
  • Isolate you from family and friends?
  • Withhold money?
  • Prevent you from working?
  • Take your money?
  • Destroy your property?
  • Harm your pets?
  • Threaten to have you deported?


Legal Options 

 Why You Should Call the Police

  • Protect you from immediate danger and help you and your children.
  • Arrest the abuser without a warrant, when the police officer has good reason to believe that an assault has taken place, is taking place, or that the abuser has violated a protection order.
  • Provide information about domestic violence services, including shelter programs. Barren River Area Safe Space, Inc. (BRASS, Inc.) offers a 24 hour crisis line (1-800-928-1183).
  • Transport or escort you to shelter.
  • Transport you to the hospital for medical attention in case of injuries.
  • Complete a police report, which is detailed account of what happened to you. This report can be helpful in proving what happened to you during a court hearing.

When the Police Arrive

  • Try to stay calm. Provide the Officer with as much information as possible.
  • Ask that a report be filed. Officers are required to file an official report for every domestic violence case they respond to, even if no other police action was taken.
  • Describe the incident in detail. The police will not know what happened unless you tell them.
  • Ask the police to take any evidence that shows you have been hurt, such as torn or bloody clothing, broken objects, or weapons. If there is no physical proof (for example, if you were being threatened), simply explain what happened.
  • Request that the police photograph any injuries or damaged property. Your medical provider may also be able to take photographs.
  • If there were any witnesses, provide names and contact information to the police.
  • Tell the officers if there has been a history of violent incidents with the abuser.
  • Show the officers any court documents you have, such as a protective order.
  • Ask the officers for their business card, case number of the report, and a phone number. Call the officers with any concern or questions while the incident is being investigated.
  • If you leave your house, you can ask the police to wait while you pack your things.
  • If the abuser is taken to jail, he or she may be released quickly. To help you plan for you safety, call the VINE system and register to be notified when the abuser is released.      (1-800-511-1670 or www.vinelink.com)


Protective Orders

What is a protective order?

A protective order is designed to keep an abuser from committing further acts of domestic violence. The individual that files the protective order is the “petitioner.” The person the protective order is filed against is the “respondent.”


Types of Protective Orders

Temporary Protective Orders:

Interpersonal Protective Orders (TIPO)

You may file an EPO in Domestic Violence cases or a TIPO in Dating Violence, stalking or sexual assault cases. To file an EPO or TIPO, go to the Warren County Justice Center during normal business hours or visit the Bowling Green Police Department to file after-hours or weekends. You may obtain an EPO/TIPO without a full court hearing and your abuser will be served with the order that includes the date and time for a full hearing or it is withdrawn by the court. The court shall set a date and time for a fill hearing within 14 days of its issuance. Continuance of an EPO/TIPO is limited to six months from the day it is issued. There are no charges or fees associated with filing a petition.


Long- Term Protective Orders:

Domestic Violence Orders (DVO) & Interpersonal Protective Orders (IPO)

DVO and IPO are long-term versions of an EPO/TIPO. These orders can only be granted to you following a full court hearing, where you and the abuser both tell your sides of the story and present evidence to a judge. Like temporary orders of protection, a DVO/IPO is not effective or enforceable until they have been served on your abuser. A DVO and IPO can last for up to three years. You may also extend your DVO/IPO for another three years, but must file for an extension at the Justice Center before the order expired. Federal laws apply to Domestic Violence and Interpersonal Protective Orders.

What's the difference in an EPO/DVO and a TIPO/IPO?

TIPO/IPO and EPO/DVO are both civil orders of protection that are very similar in function and process. The biggest difference is that TIPO/IPO are specifically designed to offer protections from dating violence, stalking and/or sexual assault for dating couples. That means that petitioners seeking to obtain a TIPO/IPO do not need to live with or have a child in common with the abuser to obtain the order. The process of filing a TIPO is the same as filing and EPO. The hearing process and enforcement of these orders are also very similar. If you are unsure about which type of protective order you need to file, you should as a victim advocate or an official at the Warren County Justice Center or Bowling Green Police Department for assistance prior to, or at the time of filing your petition.

If the petitioner and respondent attend the same school, your school must develop a plan to provide an environment that is safe and conductive to pursuing education. Your school must allow both students to be educated without exposing the victim to further abuse.


Who can get a protective order?

In order to get a protective order you must have a “qualifying relationship”. These include:

  • Family Members. Including current or former spouse, a parent, child, stepchild or any other person living in the same household as the child if the child is the alleged victim.
  • Member of an unmarried couple if currently living together, formerly lived together, or allegedly have a child living together.
  • A dating relationship between two individuals who have had a relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.
  • A victim of stalking or sexual assault

Who can be protected?

  • You can request protection for yourself, your children and/or other persons who you believe may need protection
  • If you are an adult and believe a child may need protection but you do not, you may file a petition on that child’s behalf
  • If you are under the age of 18, an adult must file a petition for you

Note: Kentucky law allows for a protective order to be filed against a current or former same-sex partner that meet the above criteria.


How can a protective order help me?

Protective orders may:

  • Prevent the abuser from having any face-to-face, telephone, email, text, or written contact with you.
  • Prevent the abuser from contacting you through a third party or through social media.
  • Order your abuser to stay away from places where you work or study or locations deemed dangerous.
  • Prevent the abuser from causing you physical harm, restricting your freedom of movement, or threatening you.
  • Prevent the abuser from selling or destroying any of your property or any property you share with him/her.
  • Give you temporary custody of your child or children.
  • Order supervised visitation if necessary.
  • Provide you with any other protection you and the Judge feel is necessary.
  • With a DVO (after hearing), you can request child support.
  • Order the abuser to vacate the couple’s residence.


Steps for getting a protective order:

  1. Get the necessary forms from the Warren Circuit Court Clerk, Domestic Violence Division located on the first floor of the Warren County Justice Center at 1001 Center Street. The Court Clerk’s office is open from 8am-4:00 pm, Mon-Fri. 

    NOTE: Protective orders can be granted after court clerk hours by contacting the Bowling Green Police Department, Warren County Sheriff’s Department or KY State Police.

  2. Ask to file an EPO or TIPO. An EPO/TIPO is a temporary emergency orders that a judge can grant you if you or your child are in immediate danger. (The abuser should not be with you or be told you are asking the judge for an EPO/TIPO.)
  3. When you go to the Justice Center to file a protective order, you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire that will help the clerk determine if you qualify for a protective order. If you meet the criteria, the clerk will then notify Barren River Area Safe Space. A Domestic Violence Advocate will be dispatched to the Justice Center to help you with your paperwork, answer any questions, and provide you with referral information.
  4. Bring identification for you and identifying information about your abuser. Remember, to file a protective order, you must know the date of birth or social security number of the abuser, and an address where the order can be served. Other helpful information about your abuse include: a photo, phone numbers, a description and license plate number of your abuser’s car.
  5. After the clerk files you paperwork, the Judge will consider your petition. If the judge believes you or your child are in serious an immediate danger, he or she may give you an EPO or TIPO, which is good for you up to 14 days, until your full court hearing, or until withdrawn by the court.
  6. The EPO/TIPO is not in effect until the abuser has been served with the order.

Note: Do not reunite with your abuser without going to court and getting the appropriate amendments made to your DVO/IPO.


Domestic Violence Resources:

WKU Police Department: 207-745-3470

Emergency Protective Orders: 270-746-7400

BRASS Crisis Lines: 1-800-928-1183

National Domestic Voleneve Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

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 Last Modified 1/5/21