Survivors of Domestic Abuse
Portland, Oregon Attorney / Lawyers, Cameron Green and Jennie Clark, assist Victims / Survivors of Domestic Violence obtain FAPA / Restraining Orders
Attorneys Cameron Green and Jennie Clark of Clark Law and Associates, LLC can help you obtain an Oregon restraining / FAPA order by helping you properly fill out your paperwork to meet the statutory requirements and represent you at an ex parte hearing before a judge to obtain a temporary F.A.P.A. order. The respondent (your abuser) may challenge the F.A.P.A. order. If you already have a temporary F.A.P.A. order that the respondent is challenging, we can assist with helping you obtain the best resolution for your case.
Sadly, domestic violence is a serious social problem transcending socioeconomic class and race, which often ends in serious injury or death. As part of the cycle of abuse, abuse can be intermixed with happy times and may happen so gradually that the abused becomes jaded to the abuse. The situation is analogous to putting a frog in water and gradually heating the water so slowly that the frog dies because the frog fails to realize the water has become dangerously hot.
Unfortunately, those who are emotionally shaken do not always effectively represent themselves. Petitioners sometimes lose a case because they fail to emphasize the necessary facts for a restraining/FAPA order. Given the sheer volume of cases going before the courts, some judges act impatiently if a petitioner fails to quickly and concisely articulate how the situation they are in fits the statutory requirements. Some victims emphasize problems in the relationship that are not relevant under the statute, which causes a judge to dismiss the testimony as irrelevant. As lawyers, we prepare clients to focus on the relevant facts and sometimes subpoena witnesses. Although we are not trained psychologists, we do our best to help clients stay emotionally grounded and focused throughout the legal process.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there something wrong with me if I have been a victim of domestic violence? No, there is something wrong with your abuser. Your abuser likely wants you to internalize the abuse as if there is something wrong with you. If you have been a victim of domestic abuse, you are not alone. There are many statistics showing domestic abuse happens regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status. See:
Where can a victim of domestic violence find resources?
There are lots of resources, but here is one helpful link: Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
What is needed to obtain an order of protection under the Family Abuse Protection Act (FAPA) in Oregon (often called a restraining order)?
To qualify for a FAPA, you must show the following:
• The violence or threats of violence occurred within 180 days of your petition;
• The abuser intentionally or recklessly caused or tried to cause bodily harm or placed you in fear of bodily harm; and
• The abuser is a spouse, former spouse, adult relative (related by blood, adoption, or marriage), the person who has cohabitated with you, a person who has cohabitated with you within the last two years, or the other parent of your child.
See ORS 107(1)
What is the applicable statute for restraining/FAPA orders?
How does one initially obtain a restraining order? Initially, anyone who has been a victim of abuse may go to the county courthouse as a petitioner and fill out free paperwork to obtain a temporary protective order. Some counties allow you to fill out the paperwork online. Shortly after the paperwork is submitted, within the afternoon if filed in the morning or the following business day, a judge hears the case ex parte (meaning that the judge only hears the petitioner’s side of the story). If the petitioner’s version of the facts meets the necessary statutory requirements, the judge will issue a temporary restraining order under the Oregon FAPA laws. After the respondent (the abuser or restrained person) is served with the restraining order, the abuser will often be ordered out of a shared home and will temporarily lose custody of any joint children. Once the abuser is served, an arrest will be made if the abuser violates the restraining order. The restrained person will have the right to request a hearing within 30 days of being served. If the restrained person does not challenge the restraining order, the restraining order will remain in place for one year. (See ORS 107.718(3)) If the restrained person violates the order within the one-year period of time, the D.A. may press criminal charges and the FAPA order can usually be renewed.
Where can I obtain the forms for obtaining an order of protection under the Family Abuse Protection Act (FAPA)?
The forms can be found on your local county’s website or at your local county courthouse. Oregon Courthouses
What if I am the only witnesses? Most abusers know what they are doing is wrong and don’t want to get caught. Thus, domestic violence usually occurs in private with no witnesses. If the petitioner is sincere, sometimes the judge will make a credibility finding based upon the petitioner’s sincerity and the respondent’s lack thereof, especially when there is corroborating evidence in favor of the petitioner, such as a phone call to the police or evidence of abuse, such as an injury. Sometimes advisable to negotiate a settlement if the terms are good in light of the evidence. For instance, an abuser may agree to keep the restraining order in place if the abuser can make arrangements to retrieve their belongings via a neutral party. Additionally, sometimes an attorney for a victim of domestic violence can draft a contract lasting longer than a year while settling for funds to aid the victim with relocating. If the respondent violates the agreement, the agreement can be later be used as evidence used against the abuser for renewing the restraining order possibly obtaining a permanent stalking order. Sometimes both parties file restraining orders against each other and neither party wants to risk losing; thus, settlement negotiations may be advisable, because if both orders are upheld and one party violates the restraining order, both parties risk getting arrested and going to jail.
What if I need to contact the person who abused me after I get the FAPA (restraining) order? When you file the FAPA order, you can choose to keep contact as telephone contact or e-mail contact. Attorneys at Clark Law and Associates, LLC recommend having a written record of any contact. Thus, we do not recommend phone contact. If there are logistics that you still need to work out with the person, then you can let the judge know you need to contact your abuser via text or email for a specific purpose when filing the restraining order. You can also petition to modify the restraining order if you later realize that you need to have contact on a limited basis. Please do not contact the abuser without modifying your restraining order to allow for limited contact. If you continuously try to contact the restrained person, this can be used against you in a contested restraining order hearing to show that you do not fear the abuser or that you have some sort of ulterior motive for obtaining a restraining order. It also sends a message to the abuser that you are not serious about keeping yourself safe. If you truly believe your former abuser poses no further danger to you, you can make a motion to have the restraining order vacated. However, if there are criminal charges pending against the abuser, then the district attorney’s office will likely impose their own no-contact order.
Should I contact the District Attorney’s office? Although an experienced attorney can give legal advice regarding a particular situation and may encourage a criminal case to be filed in addition to a F.A.P.A. protective order, ultimately victims of domestic violence will need to decide to inform the district attorney’s office of a desire to press charges. If a police report is made, the district attorney’s office reviews the report and determines if there is enough evidence to prosecute. You may be subpoenaed to testify even if you do not want to. For a criminal case, the state must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. In a civil restraining order case, the petitioner only has to prove the case by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning more likely than not. There are rational reasons some victims of abuse may choose not to press criminal charges if it is believed the respondent will adhere to the restraining order. For example, if the petitioner and the petitioner’s children are dependent on the abuser’s financial support, throwing the abuser in jail could cause child support payments to cease. That said, money is not adequate compensation for permanent injury or loss of life. If you are in Multnomah County, the District Attorney’s contact information is below:
Time off Work for Victims of Domestic Violence
Can I get time off work to deal with issues related to domestic violence? Possibly.
Which Oregon statute addresses leave from work for those who have been victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault or Stalking? ORS 659(A).270 and.
What kind of employer is required to allow those who have been victims of domestic violence to miss work? The statute applies to an employer who employs six or more individuals in the State of Oregon for each working day during each of 20 or more calendar workweeks in the year.
What types of situations does ORS 659(A).270 apply?
- Victim of domestic violence;
- Victim of harassment under ORD 166.065 (Harassment).
- Victim of sexual assault;
- Victim of Stalking;
- Parent guardian of a minor child or dependent who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
To what extent is an employer required to provide time off work for a victim of domestic violence?
- To seek legal or law enforcement assistance or remedies to ensure the health and safety of the employee or the employee’s minor child or dependent, including preparing for and participating in protective order proceedings or other civil or criminal legal proceedings related to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
- To seek medical treatment for or to recover from injuries caused by domestic violence or sexual assault to or stalking of the eligible employee or the employee’s minor child or dependent.
- To obtain, or to assist a minor child or dependent in obtaining, counseling from a licensed mental health professional related to an experience of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
- To obtain services from a victim services provider for the eligible employee or the employee’s minor child or dependent.
- To relocate or take steps to secure an existing home to ensure the health and safety of the eligible employee or the employee’s minor child or dependent.
What if allowing a victim of domestic violence take leave causes an undue hardship on the business? An undue hardship means a significant difficulty and expense to a for the employer’s business, which includes consideration of the size of the employer’s business and the employer’s critical need for the employee who has been a victim of domestic violence. In these circumstances, an employer may limit the amount of leave that an employee who is a victim of domestic violence takes. See ORS ORS 659A.275
What if an employer threatens to fire, demote or any way retaliate against an employee for taking time off work for domestic violence issues? It is considered an unlawful employment practice. See
So what can be done if an employer refuses to let a victim of domestic violence take time off?
- Seek legal advice from an attorney;
- File a complaint with the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) within one year of being denied leave. Call 971-673-0761 or go to: BOLI
- If you work for the government, you must send a tort claim notice within 180 days. You should contact an attorney to help you with this to make sure it is done properly.
Is my time off work to deal with domestic violence issues paid? No. However, If a victim of domestic violence has a strong enough case and the abuser has sufficient assets, a civil lawsuit may be filed to cover non-economic damages and forseeable, documented economic damages related to the abuse.
How does a victim of domestic violence request time off? I advise that when possible that written notice should be given to the employer and that the reason involving domestic violence is clearly stated. An employer may require corroborating evidence of the domestic violence, such as a copy of a police report, restraining order or a letter from an attorney or counselor.
Is the portion of my employment records that indicates that a person needed time off to deal with domestic violence issues confidential? Yes. It is required under ORS 659A.280(5)