All of our citizens have the right to be free of the fear of crime and violence. When violence strikes inside the home, the results are doubly tragic. Our office is committed to cracking down on domestic abusers. We are powerless without the voices of victims, though. If you are in a domestic violence situation, and you look the other way, cover up for the abuser, or refuse to testify in court, the violence will not stop without tragic consequences.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic Violence is commonly described as a pattern of learned behavior in which one person uses force to control another person or make them do things. This behavior consists of multiple - sometimes daily - abuses. Criminal behaviors include physical assault (hitting, pushing, shoving, hair pulling, etc.), criminal sexual conduct and stalking. Domestic violence includes hurting, threatening or putting someone down or making them afraid. The abuse can get worse over time. Domestic violence can happen between people in a family, intimate partners, or other people who live in the same house.
Oregon Statutes define domestic violence as follow:
When an assault has occurred between spouses, former spouses or adult persons related by blood or marriage or person of opposite sex residing together or who formerly resided together, or when one such person has placed the other in fear of imminent serious physical injury.
Domestic Violence can take many forms:
The following are just a few examples of domestic violence:
- Hitting, choking, shoving, slapping, biting, stabbing, burning or grabbing one's partner.
- Causing one's partner to sustain injuries such as a cut lip, a black eye, bruises, broken bones and broken teeth.
- Holding, tying down or restraining one's partner.
- Using a weapon to threaten to injure another's partner.
- Threatening to harm or kill one's partner or the partner's children, friends or family members.
- Destroying household or personal belongings and/or hurting or killing pets.
- Preventing one's partner from seeing friends or family, getting a job or going to school. (this may not be a criminal offense unless other assault activity is present).
- Keeping all the money under one's control and/or refusing to pay the bills or buy food and necessities. (This also may not be a criminal act by itself.)
- Physical assaults, stalking and criminal sexual conduct are against the law, and the abuser can be prosecuted for committing these crimes.
- Victims of all forms of abuse should contact community agencies for help. Victims of abuses that are against the law should report them to the police.
What kinds of resources are available for victims of domestic violence?
* National toll-free family violence help line, 800-537-2238
* Domestic Violence shelters
* Saving Grace (savinggrace.org) 475-1880 / 24 hour hot line 1-389-7021 or 1-866-504-8992
* Legal Aid Clinics, 800-678-6944
* The Jefferson County District Attorney's Victim/Witness Assistance Program, 541-475-4452 or 541-475-5620
* Police and Sheriff's Departments
* St. Charles Medical Center, Madras 475-3882
* Call 911 if you are in immediate danger.
Other Options For Protecting Yourself:
* If you have sustained physical injuries, get medical attention.
* Save as much evidence as you can to document the abuse, including medical records and photographs of injuries and damage to your property.
* Report domestic violence and stalking to the local police or sheriff's department.
* Ask the County Prosecutor to file charges.
* Make a safety plan, which may include figuring out the 'warning signs' which come before abuse:
- Working out signals with relatives to call the police.
- Asking a friend or relative to come and stay with you.
- Deciding where you can go and what to take with you in the event that you must leave.
- Who you will be contacting for help.
- Protection and provisions for you children.
How to stop the cycle of violence and abuse:
If you are a victim of domestic violence, and you want to stop the cycle of abuse, cooperate with police, prosecutors, and victim-witness assistants.
1. Reporting the crime to your local police agency.
2. Responding to all subpoenas and requests for interviews.
3. Answering truthfully all of the questions you are asked.
4. Appearing in court to testify, and telling the truth about the abuser. Lying under oath not only lets the abuser think they can get away with it; it is also a felony under Oregon state law.
We want you to know that prosecution does not always result in a jail sentence. The Judge may order probation with court-ordered conditions such as treatment for substance abuse or counseling for abusive behavior. The court may also order and offender to pay restitution, or to have no more contact with the victim.
You may also find the earliest possible release date of the offender if there is a jail sentence.