The Haywood County Sheriff’s Office has a full-time victim advocate who specializes in domestic violence and sexual assault cases. If you are a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault or know someone who is, contact the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office at (828) 452-6666 to speak with domestic violence advocate Suzie Pressley, Deputy Matthew Rinehardt or Detective Michele Cagle (828) 452-6666 Ext. 2891 for more information.
If you are being threatened or assaulted by a person you have a relationship with or lives in your household, you may be able to obtain a Domestic Violence Protective Order. The Domestic Violence Task Force can assist you with this process.
Domestic Violence Protective Orders
Seek help through the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office Domestic Violence Victim’s Advocate, or REACH to apply for the temporary protective order and related legal assistance.
There is no charge for these services.
In most cases, a judge can, within the body of the protective order:
- Order the abuser to stay away from you and/or your children
- Grant temporary custody of your children to you
- Order law enforcement to go with the abuser while they retrieve personal belongings
- Order the abuser to have no contact with you
- Grant you possession of the car and other belongings
- Order the abuser to surrender firearms to law enforcement officers
- Order the abuser to attend a batter’s treatment program
- Order the abuser to pick up or exchange children in a place where you feel safe
- Order supervised visitation
Be sure to keep a copy of your protective order with you at all times. If the order is violated, you will need to show it to the responding officer and/or criminal magistrate along with any continuance orders you may have.
- If you have criminal charges against the abuser, you will need to stay in touch with the District Attorney’s Office at (828) 454-6510.
- Tell the district Attorney the name of anyone that is assisting you such as the victim’s advocate or lawyer
- Tell the District Attorney about any witnesses to your injuries, abuse, or other information related to your criminal case against your abuser
- Ask the District Attorney to keep you informed of any court dates or if the abuser is being released from jail.
IN AN EMERGENCY
IF YOU ARE IN THE HOME AND IN DANGER OF BEING ATTACKED:
- Stay out of the kitchen so that the abuser will not have access to knives and other items that can be used as weapons.
- Stay out of bathrooms, closets, and other small places where the abuser can trap you.
- Go to a room with a door or window where you may be able to escape.
- Call 9-1-1 as soon as possible and tell the dispatcher your name and address along with the name of the abuser and your situation.
- Know where to go if you need to leave.
- If law enforcement arrives, get his/her name and badge number
- Seek medical help if you are injured.
- Take photos of any injuries or property damage resulting from an attack.
- Call a domestic violence victim’s advocate for help in forming a safety plan, filling a protective order, and/or filing criminal charges if they have not been filed yet
PROTECT YOURSELF OUTSIDE THE HOME:
- Change you regular travel habits.
- Shop and bank in different places.
- Cancel any shared accounts, credit cards or post office boxes. Change to a new account at a different bank.
- Keep emergence and important numbers with you at all times.
- Keep a cell phone and programs it to 9-1-1 or other emergency number.
PROTECT YOURSELF AT THE COURT HOUSE
- Sit as far away from the abuser as possible or ask your advocate if you can sit in another room until needed.
- Bring a friend or relative with you to the hearing.
- Tell the Bailiff where the abuser is and to make sure they keep an eye on them.
- Wait for any court orders before you leave.
- Ask the Bailiff to keep the abuser there until you have time to leave safely.
PROTECT YOURSELF AT HOME
- Memorize emergency phone numbers
- Keep a phone in every lockable room or keep a cell phone with you at all times.
- If the abuser has moved out, change the locks on you doors and get locks for all windows.
- Plan an escape route out of your home and teach it to your children. Plan where you will go if you need to escape.
- Ask your neighbors to call police if they see the abuser at your home. Make a signal for them to call the police such as a colored cloth in a certain window.
- Pack a bag with important papers, medication, identification, cash, spare keys in the event you need to leave quickly. Put the bag in a safe place or keep it with a trusted friend or family member
- Get an unlisted phone number and block Caller ID. Use an answering service to screen calls.
- Take a good self defense course.
PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN
- Teach them not to get in the middle of a fight even if they are trying to help.
- Teach them how to get to safety, call 9-1-1 and to give their address and phone number.
- Give the principle of the school or daycare center a copy of your protective order and tell them not to release your children to anyone without your permission.
- Give the school or daycare a photo of the abuser.
- Make sure the children know who to tell at school or daycare if they see the abuser.
- Make sure the school knows not to give your address or phone number to anyone.
PROTECT YOURSELF AT WORK
- Ask a security guard to walk you to your car.
- Give your supervisor and security a photo of the abuser.
- Keep a copy of your protective order at work.
- Do not go to lunch alone.
- Save any voice mail or email messages from the abuser and ask that the abuser be told by the supervisor not to call or come to the work place.
IMPORTANT LOCAL NUMBERS:
Haywood County Sheriff’s Office:
HCSO Domestic Violence Task Force
Deputy Matthew Rinehardt
Victims Advocate Suzie Pressley
Clerk of Courts:
Haywood County Detention Center
REACH of Haywood County
WNC Legal Services
IF YOU ARE IN DANGER CALL 9-1-1