By Leslyn Barrow, Human Services Specialist
Domestic violence is a pattern of physically, sexually, verbally and/or emotionally abusive behaviors used by one individual to assert power or maintain control over another in the context of an intimate or family relationship. Behaviors may also include harassment, threat or harm.
One in every four women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime. Domestic violence is widespread and is devastating to society as a whole, but particularly women and children. It is not confined to any group or groups of people, but crosses all economic, racial, gender, educational, religious, and societal barriers, and is sustained by societal indifference.
When a family member is abused, it can have long-term damaging effects on the victim that also leaves a mark on family, friends, and the community at large. The crime of domestic violence violates an individual’s privacy, dignity, security, and humanity due to the systematic use of physical, emotional, sexual, psychological, and economic control and/or abuse.
Housing and Human Services (HHS) encourages domestic violence victims and their families to seek assistance. Whether you need information, support, or a safe place to stay, Housing and Human Services (HHS) can connect you to people who can help. Call 703-248-5005 (TTY 711).
What are Protective Orders and how to obtain one?
A Protective Order is a civil order designed for people who are experiencing family abuse. Protective Orders can:
- Order the respondent to refrain from acts of family abuse against you
- Prohibit contact between the abuser and you, including in person, by phone and/or mail
- Give you temporary possession of your residence
- Order the abuser to stay away from you, your children, or any family members
- Order the abuser to stay away from your residence and/or place of employment
- Order the abuser into a counseling program
A person may obtain the following types of Protective Orders:
- Emergency Protective Order (EPO)
- requested by petitioner at time of the incident. EPOs are not issued by the City Court Services Unit. Requests are made by contacting the Arlington County Magistrate office at 703-228-3962 (TTY 711).
- valid for 72 hours or until 5:00 p.m. the next day that court is in session
- Preliminary Protective Orders (PPO)
- requested by petitioner before expiration of EPO. Petition is made to Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. City residents may contact Falls Church Court Services Unit at 703-248-5430 (TTY 711).
If you need additional information, please call Housing and Human Services at 703-248-5005 (TTY 711), or visit the City of Falls Church Domestic Violence Services webpage.
For additional resources and events pertaining to Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), please visit the Fairfax County DVAM events webpage.