Know Your Rights
There are many options available to victims of domestic violence. The main options that victims often consider pursuing are:
- Reporting acts of domestic violence to law enforcement which may result in criminal charges against an abuser.
- Requesting a civil domestic violence protective order (a specific type of restraining order).
- If you are an immigrant victim of domestic violence you may also need assistance remaining safely in the United States and may be eligible to apply for a U Visa.
In no way is the information provided on this website advice, or a recommendation for a specific course of action for domestic violence victims. There is not a “one size fits all” approach that is guaranteed to work for every victim. What might help one person might not help another person. The information provided on this website is intended to help victims understand their options. However, the legal system can be very complicated. There are many advantages and disadvantages to engaging the legal system for protection. Before taking any steps which involve engaging the legal system, many victims may wish to work with a community-based domestic violence agency. While most of these agencies do not have attorneys and therefore cannot provide legal advice, a community-based domestic violence agency can provide a range of free support services, including safety planning and other assistance to help you in determining what course of action may be best for you. In addition, they may be able to refer you to appropriate legal services in the community.
- You can find the contact information for the community-based domestic violence agency in your county here: http://www.councilforwomen.nc.gov/programslist.aspx
- You can inquire about free legal services in civil matters to low-income people in order to ensure equal access to justice and to remove barriers to economic opportunity, through Legal Aid of North Carolina. They help individuals, families and communities with legal problems affecting basic human needs, such as family, housing, education, employment and income. More information about a legal aid office in your area can be found here: https://www.legalaidnc.org/public/learn/offices/
- WomensLaw.org, a project of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, provides legal information and support to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
This project was supported by subgrant No. PROJ011342 awarded by the state administering office for the STOP Formula Grant Program. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the state or the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.
North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCCADV) is the creator of the information contained in these ‘kNOw Your Rights’ pages. NCCADV hereby grants permission to reproduce the materials provided on this website, so long as the reproduced information is clearly credited to NCCADV.