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How to seek Police Protection

November 11, 2012


Police protection is sought when a citizen faces the threat of a physical attack from any person or a group of people.  


I. What is a Protective Order (P.O.)? 
It is a document issued by a court to help protect an individual and his/her family from harassment or abuse.

It can set limits on the abusers behavior such as:
* Order the abuser to stop abusing the individual and his/her family
* Tell the abuser to leave and stay away from your home, work place, and family
* Direct the abuser to have no contact with you, including no phone calls, letters, or messages through other people
* Order the abuser to stay away from the children, their babysitter, day care, or school.
* A protective order is not a punishment for the abuser. It is intended to prevent future violence or harassment. However, violation of the order can lead to arrest and punishment of the abuser.


II. Obtaining a Protective Order
You can get a protective Order in tribal court if the following apply to you: 
* If the abuser and the abused are both Indian citizens.

(If the abuser is non-Indian, check with the court clerk of the tribal court to make sure that non-Indians are subject to the court's authority. Most often non-Indians are subject to the Tribal court for protective orders.) 

You can get a protective order (known as restraining order) from a Court of Indian Offences if the following apply to you: 
*You are an Indian citizen

* The tribe with authority over the land is served by a Court of Indian Offences
* The abuser is Indian. (If the abuser is non-Indian, you must show that the he/she submits to the Court of Indian Offences authority.

If you are an Indian citizen living abroad, you must go to the state court to get a protective order.

III. Who Can Get A Protective Order? 
Anyone who has been physically, sexually, or emotionally abused by anyone including a spouse, former spouse, or partner.

IV. How Can Protective Orders Help?
* Police are likely to take your calls more seriously if you have a P.O.
* The abuser can be arrested and put in jail if he violates a P.O.
* If you have left your home, a P.O. can make it easier for you to get the police to go with you to get your personal belongings.
* Can protect you at your job if you're being stalked or harassed.

V. Process Of Getting A Protective Order?
* Contact the court and find out what procedures they follow.
* Fill out a petition for a P.O.
* After completing the petition, file it with the court along with a filing fee.

VI. Details to be Mentioned in the Protective Order Petition 
List the reasons you for which you need a P.O.
* Include a history of incidents between the abuser and you
* Describe injuries you have received.
* Describe the most recent incident between the abuser and you

* Include why you think the violence is likely to happen again or that harassment will continue.
* Be specific.

A physical description of the abuser.
* Include any distinguishing marks such as tattoos.
* If possible, include a photograph of the abuser. 

The exact physical location of the abuser so that the police can serve the order. 
* Include the times the abuser will be at that address. If the abuser and you live together and you wish for the abuser to be served at your residence, include a time that the abuser can be served when you will not be at the residence.
* The location can be the abuser's work, home, or other place where you know the abuser will be. 

Whether the abuser has been previously charged with acts of domestic violence. 

Whether the abuser may be armed with a gun or knife, or any other weapon. 

VII. Inclusion of Complainant’s Address In Petition? 
Your work, home, and other addresses may be kept confidential if the abuser does not already know them.
* However, you must provide a mailing address so the court can notify you of future hearings.

VIII. What If I Can't Afford The Filing Fee? 
Check with the court clerk. The filing fee may be waived.

IX. What Happens When I Go To Court?
* A judge will review your petition and hear your testimony and any other evidence.
* The judge will decide immediately whether your Order will be issued.
* Tribal Courts and Courts of Indian Offenses are not in session every day of the week. The judge will only be able to review your petition on the days that court is in session. However, you can file a petition any day.

X. What Can the Judge Put In A Protective Order?
* If the abuser has a weapon, you can request that the P.O. requires the abuser to surrender the weapon.
* If you share a home with the abuser, the P.O. can require the abuser to leave the home. 

XI. Can Custody Of Children Be Included? 
* Courts of Indian Offenses:
While the order can restrain the abuser from children in your custody, custody itself can not be decided in a P.O. 
* Tribal Courts: 
You may be able to have custody provisions in the P.O. Check with the tribal court with authority over your land.

XII. What Happens After I Receive The Protective Order?
* If the order is issued without the abuser's knowledge you will have to appear in court within 10 days after the initial order is issued. That appearance is called a hearing to show cause. Whether you received the P.O. from a tribal court or a court of Indian offenses, you will have to appear for this hearing.
* At the hearing to show cause, the abuser will have an opportunity to contest the order.
* At the hearing to show cause, you will need to appear and show why you needed the Protective Order.
* At that time, you will be able to have the P.O. extended for the length of time the judge feels is necessary.
* If you do not appear at the hearing to show cause the P.O. will be dropped. 

XIII. What Should I Do If The Abuser Attempts To Contact Me After I Have Received A Protective Order?
* You should call the tribal or BIA police or the FBI.
* If you cannot reach the tribal or BIA police, contact local police. They shall contact the tribal or BIA police on radio.