Domestic Violence

If You Are Threatened by Domestic Violence

  • Call 911 if you are in immediate danger.
  • If you have an injunction order (also called a Restraining Order) against someone who you think is violating that order, file an Affidavit of Violation (see below for an explanation).
  • Learn more by reading the injunction FAQ, below.

Please be aware that your abuser may monitor your Internet use. If you believe your computer is not secure, please consider using a computer your abuser does not have access to. If your abuser has access to your computer, we urge you to delete your browser history.

General Information

What is an Injunction?

In simple terms, an injunction tries to stop someone from doing something. It is an order issued by a court that seeks to prevent a person or an entity from doing something specific, such as abusing a spouse. Domestic violence injunctions, also known as Restraining Orders, restrain individuals from harming other people they know. It restricts contact between the two people involved. Domestic violence injunctions may also address other issues between people. This can include ordering counseling, treatment, parenting plans and temporary child support, among other things.

There are five types of violence that can be covered by a domestic violence injunction:

Starting the Process

Getting a domestic violence injunction starts with a Petition for Protection against Domestic Violence. The County Clerk’s Domestic Violence Department will be happy to help you file the proper petition.  

Domestic Violence Department

The Domestic Violence Department oversees cases relating to all five types of domestic violence injunctions. The department can help you if you are filing Petitions for Protection by:   

  • Providing simplified forms and instructions for completion and filing
  • Helping you file documents that describe a violation of an injunction
  • Providing you with two certified copies of the Temporary Injunction, if one has been entered by the Court

Fees

There is absolutely no fee to file a Petition for Protection against Domestic Violence, Repeat Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Violence or Stalking Violence.

What Will an Injunction Do?

  • It will legally stop someone who is abusing you from further harming you or your children. It will also prevent that person from threatening you or your minor children.
  • If you share a home with someone who is abusing you, it may give you sole possession of that home.
  • It may keep the person who is abusing you from going within 500 feet of your home, workplace, school or other places you or your family may go.
  • It may prevent contact between the abuser and you and your family members.
  • It may require that the person abusing you go to counseling or treatment, or to batterer's intervention classes. These are provided by The Salvation Army, Hubbard House, New Beginnings, Quigley House and Safe Families.
  • It may call for a parenting plan and for the time sharing of any minor children between the you and the abuser.
  • It may provide for six months of child support.
  • It may require the abuser to take certain actions regarding issues such as the safety of children who are affected.

Domestic Violence

If you are a victim of any kind of domestic violence or even if you think you are in danger, you can file a Petition for Protection against Domestic Violence. This, in effect, asks the court to issue an order to protect you against further harm. Because you are making a request to the court, you are called the Petitioner. The person you are seeking protection from is called the Respondent.

Domestic Violence (Florida Statutes 741) means any:

  • Assault
  • Aggravated assault
  • Battery
  • Aggravated battery
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual battery
  • Stalking
  • Aggravated stalking
  • Kidnapping
  • False imprisonment
  • Any other criminal offense committed by anyone in your family or by any member of your household that results in the physical injury or death of another family or household member. The offense must be committed by another person living in the same residence.

In the final point, above, "family or household member" can mean any of the following:

  • Spouses and former spouses
  • People related by blood or marriage
  • People who are living or who have lived together as if you were a family
  • People who have a child together, whether or not they have ever been married or have lived together

Factors considered

The court will consider several things when trying to decide whether you might be in danger of domestic violence. All relevant facts in the petition will be looked at, including the following, among other:

  • The past relations between you and the Respondent, including threats, harassment, stalking and physical abuse
  • Whether the Respondent has attempted to harm you, your family members or other individuals close to you
  • Whether the Respondent has threatened to conceal, kidnap, or harm your child or children
  • Whether the Respondent has intentionally injured or killed a family pet
  • Whether the Respondent has used, or has threatened to use, any weapons against you
  • Whether the Respondent has physically kept you from leaving the home or calling police
  • Whether the Respondent has a criminal history of violence or the threat of violence
  • Whether a verifiable order of protection has been issued previously or from another jurisdiction
  • Whether the Respondent has destroyed personal property, including, among other things, telephones or other communications equipment, clothing, or other items belonging to you
  • Whether the Respondent engaged in any other behavior that makes you think you are in danger of domestic violence in the near future

Spouses

Domestic Violence laws apply to you only if the Respondent is:

  • Your current or former spouse
  • Related to you by blood or marriage
  • Living with you either now or in the past (if you are or were living as a family)
  • The other parent of your child, whether or not you have ever been married or have ever lived together

Repeat Violence

If you or a member of your immediate family is a victim of repeat violence, you can file a Petition for Injunction for Protection against Repeat Violence. Just as it sounds, this asks the court for an order to prevent repeat violence. If the respondent is your spouse, former spouse, related to you by blood or marriage, living with you now or has lived with you in the past, or the other parent of your children, you should use Petition for Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence.

Under Florida Statutes 784, repeat violence means any assault, battery, sexual battery or stalking by a person against any other person. It must include two incidents of violence or stalking committed by the same person. One of those incidents must have occurred within six months of the filing of the petition. In addition, the violence must have been directed against the Petitioner or the Petitioner's immediate family member. Again, because you are making a request to the court, you are called the Petitioner. The person you are asking the court to protect you from is called the Respondent.

You can file a Petition for Injunction for Protection against Repeat Violence if the Respondent is:

  • Your current or former spouse
  • Related to you by blood or marriage
  • Living with you either now or in the past (if you are or were living as a family)
  • The other parent of your child, whether or not you have ever been married or have ever lived together

Filing for Those Younger Than 18

There are special procedures if you are under the age of 18 and have never been married or had a Disabilities of Nonage removed by a court. In this case, one of your parents or your legal guardian must sign the petition on your behalf. In other words, the parent or legal guardian of any minor child who is living at home may seek an injunction for protection against repeat violence on behalf of the minor child. If this is the case, the parent or legal guardian also:

  • Must have been an eyewitness to the allegations that form the basis of the petition or
  • Must have direct physical evidence of the allegations that form the basis of the petition or
  • Must have affidavits from eyewitnesses of the allegations that form the basis of the petition

Dating Violence

If you or anyone in your immediate family is a victim of dating violence, you can file a Petition for Injunction for Protection against Dating Violence. This means you are asking the court for an order to protect you from further dating violence. Because you are making a request to the court, you are called the Petitioner. The person you are seeking protection from is called the Respondent.

Dating violence is simply defined as violence between individuals who have—or have had—a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature (Florida Statutes 784). To decide whether this kind of relationship exists, all of the following factors will be considered:

  • You must have had a dating relationship within the past six months.
  • In your relationship, the two of you must have expected mutual affection or sexual involvement.
  • You must have had a relationship that included frequent interaction on a continuing basis over the course of time.

It’s important to note that dating violence does not include violence in a casual friendship. It also does not include violence between people who have gotten to know each other only as a result of business or social contact. You do not need to have had a relationship with the other person for any specific minimum amount of time.

Filing for Those Younger Than 18

There are special procedures if you are under the age of 18 and have never been married or had a Disabilities of Nonage removed by a court. In this case, one of your parents or your legal guardian must sign the petition on your behalf. In other words, the parent or legal guardian of any minor child who is living at home may seek an injunction for protection against dating violence on behalf of the minor child. If this is the case, the parent or legal guardian also:

  • Must have been an eyewitness to the allegations that form the basis of the petition or
  • Must have direct physical evidence of the allegations that form the basis of the petition or
  • Must have affidavits from eyewitnesses of the allegations that form the basis of the petition

Sexual Violence

If you’re a victim of sexual violence, you can file a document called a Petition for Injunction for Protection against Sexual Violence. This means you are asking the court to issue an order that prevents sexual violence. You can also file this document on behalf of a minor child who is a victim of sexual violence. In this case, you must be the parent or legal guardian of the child, and the child must be living at home. Because you are making a request to the court, you are called the Petitioner. The person you are seeking protection from is called the Respondent.

Sexual violence means any one incident of:

  • Sexual battery as defined in Florida Statute 794*
  • A lewd and lascivious act, as defined in Florida Statute 800 committed against or in the presence of a person younger than 16 years of age
  • Luring or enticing a child, as described in Florida Statute 787
  • Sexual performance by a child, as described in Florida Statute 827
  • Any other forcible felony in which a sexual act is committed or attempted

* Florida Statutes can be found online at http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/.

To get an injunction, it’s important to know that you must have reported the sexual violence to a law-enforcement agency. You must also be cooperating in any criminal proceeding against the Respondent. This is true whether or not criminal charges based on the sexual violence have been filed, reduced or dismissed by the State Attorney's office.

You may also seek an Injunction for Protection against Sexual Violence if the Respondent was sent to prison for committing one of the sexual-violence crimes listed above and then was released from prison. The violence must have been committed against you or your minor child living at home. Also, the Respondent must be out of prison or getting out of prison within 90 days of your petition. If these things apply to your situation, you must attach the Notice of Inmate Release to your petition.

If these conditions don’t apply to your situation, you may still qualify for one of the other types of injunctions (domestic, repeat or dating).

Note that any victim of abuse has the right to file an injunction against the alleged abuser. To do this, you will need court packets, which you can download for free (see the Forms section, below). Packets are available for each of the five types of violence outlined here. Each packet includes complete instructions on filing the injunction. Once the injunction is granted, two certified copies are provided.

Filing for Those Younger Than 18

There are special procedures if you are under the age of 18 and have never been married or had a Disabilities of Nonage removed by a court. In this case, one of your parents or your legal guardian must sign the petition on your behalf. In other words, the parent or legal guardian of any minor child who is living at home may seek an injunction for protection against dating violence on behalf of the minor child. If this is the case, the parent or legal guardian also:

  • Must have been an eyewitness to the allegations that form the basis of the petition or
  • Must have direct physical evidence of the allegations that form the basis of the petition or
  • Must have affidavits from eyewitnesses of the allegations that form the basis of the petition

Stalking Violence

If you are a victim of stalking, you can file a Petition for Injunction for Protection against Stalking Violence. This asks the court to issue an order protecting you from further stalking. Because you are making a request to the court, you are called the Petitioner. The person you are asking the court to protect you from is called the Respondent.

Under Florida Statutes 784, stalking is defined as someone purposefully following or harassing you repeatedly over a period of time for no legitimate purpose, causing you emotional stress. If the person stalking you threatens your life or threatens to harm you, with the intent to cause you to reasonably fear for your safety, then the act is considered to be aggravated.

Cyber stalking is also covered by the law. Cyber stalking means using words or images through email or other electronic communication that is directed to you and that causes substantial emotional distress, while serving no legitimate purpose.

Filing for Those Younger Than 18

There are special procedures if you are under the age of 18 and have never been married or had a Disabilities of Nonage removed by a court. In this case, one of your parents or your legal guardian must sign the petition on your behalf. In other words, the parent or legal guardian of any minor child who is living at home may seek an injunction for protection

Documentation/Information Needed

When you file a complaint, we ask that you bring a few items with you:

  • Your driver's license or other identification that includes your picture and signature
  • The specific dates of abuse or threats of abuse
  • The specific locations where abuse or threats occurred

In addition, you should be able to provide:

  • The name of the Respondent (your alleged abuser)
  • A physical description of the Respondent, including height, weight, scars, date of birth, etc.
  • The current residential address of the Respondent, including telephone number
  • The Respondent's employer, with address and phone number, if possible
  • The Respondent's vehicle information, including make, model, color, year and tag number

If the Respondent is outside of Florida, you’ll need to provide the Clerk’s Office with the following information:

  • The name, address and phone number of the sheriff's department that has jurisdiction where the Respondent may be found
  • The service fee for that jurisdiction to serve a Temporary Injunction as well as information on whether that jurisdiction will accept a personal check from the Petitioner for payment of service (the Petitioner is responsible for payment of any sheriff service fees outside the State of Florida)

The Clerk’s Office can offer assistance to you, but please keep in mind that it’s always best to request help from our office as early in the day as possible, preferably before 4:00 p.m. This gives us time to complete paperwork and allows the Court to review your paperwork.

Please keep in mind that the law prevents the Clerk’s Office from giving you legal advice. If you need legal advice, you may want to consider consulting a qualified attorney.

Injunction Process

The Clerk’s Office will be glad to review your petition to assure accuracy and correctness. We will then submit it to the judge to determine whether a Temporary Injunction for Protection will be issued. The Judge may grant your petition or deny it. She or he may also schedule a hearing for your petition. The normal time frame for a decision from the judge is 24 to 48 hours.

It’s important to note that If a Temporary Injunction for Protection is issued, it does not go into effect until the Respondent has been served.

You’ll be glad to know that there is no fee to file a Petition for Injunction for Protection against Domestic Violence, Repeat Violence, Sexual Violence, Dating Violence or Stalking Violence.

If the Respondent is outside the State of Florida and must be served there, you should be prepared to provide the following information:

  • The name, address and phone number of the sheriff's department that has jurisdiction where the Respondent may be found
  • The service fee for that jurisdiction to serve a Temporary Injunction as well as information on whether that jurisdiction will accept a personal check from the Petitioner for payment of service (the Petitioner is responsible for payment of any sheriff service fees outside the State of Florida)
**Please note that if you are filing a Petition for Injunction you may complete the forms in the privacy of your own home before bringing them to the Clerk of Court’s Domestic Violence Department. This includes both local forms and the Petition for Injunction. Doing this can reduce your wait. **

Forms

Local forms - Required for submission

  1. Instructions - Please read before completing any paperwork - IMPORTANT
  2. Civil Cover Sheet
  3. Domestic Relations Identification Sheet
  4. Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) - Only required if children are involved
  5. Domestic Violence Threat Level Assessment Checklist/Missed Advocacy - Only required for intimate relationships

Petition for Injunction forms - Required for submission

If you have any questions, please contact our office for assistance.

IMPORTANT: Confidential Information within Court Filings

Please be advised that the Florida Supreme Court has substantially amended Rule 2.420 (Public Access to Judicial Branch Records) in SC11-2466. The Rule involves procedures regarding confidentiality of Court records and requires filers to notify the Clerk of confidential information contained in any filings. The amendment was effective May 1, 2013 and may be accessed at the following website link.

Please take special notice that the Court may impose sanctions under Rule 2.420 (i) for non-compliance.

For your convenience, an interactive form for providing notice of confidential information within court filings is available by following the link below.

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Office Information

Domestic Violence Department

Office Hours

 Monday through Friday (excluding holidays): 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. however we cease intake of new petitions at 4:00 p.m.

 

Mailing Address

Duval County Clerk of Courts

Attn: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DEPARTMENT

501 West Adams Street, Room 2409

Jacksonville, FL 32202

Phone

(904) 255-2210

Contact the Clerk

Email:
Name:
Phone:
Case / Reference #:
Subject:
Message
 

Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not want your e-mail address released in response to a public-records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing.