One way to obtain a protective order against a family member (see prior blog on the definition of a family member) is to go to the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court in take office. There, you will meet with an intake officer or counselor who will help you complete the necessary paperwork to obtain a protective order.
You may be asked the complete a sworn statement. This sworn statement serves as the basis for obtaining a protective order. The form requires you to specifically provide all the facts, events, circumstances that warrant a protective order. You will be asked to write about the most recent events of abuse. You will have to recount the history of abuse during the relationship.
This is a sworn statement! It must be completely true and accurate.
In completing this form, make completely sure that all the facts, dates, events are true and accurate. If the facts you state under oath are not entirely 100% accurate, you will be in trouble. Why? First, you have sworn before the court that all the facts in the form are true and accurate. So you can be fond to have lied in a sworn statement. At the hearing to extend your protective other, the alleged perpetrator’s attorney will have a copy of your affidavit and be able to cross examine you and show that you were lying, exaggerating, or just guessing when you made your sworn statement. The Judge will also be able to ask you questions based on your Affidavit.
If your Affidavit is not complexly true and accurate, it will undermine your credibility with the Judge. It may result in the Judge not believing you about any part of your testimony. And you may not be granted a protective order.
So, if you remember the facts specifically, state only those specific facts-be as specific as possible but only to the extent you remember the specific facts. If you do not remember every act of violence, then do not guess; rather state that there were other acts of abuse and write down only the facts that you remember. Indicate incidents where you were physically abused or threatened with violence. Add details such as what the perpetrator said, but do not quote the exact words unless you have written them down or have them recorded. Try to be as detailed as you can while being accurate. State the dates of any incidents as specifically as your memory allows. If you remember the exact days or times, write it down on the affidavit But, if you do not remember the exact date or time, you should write something like, “On or about the first week of September, 2019.” Use a diary, calendar, friend whom you talked to right after the incident to try to refresh your recollection of the exact date, time, and facts. Remember, you will have to take the witness stand and defend everything your write on the form against aggressive cross examination by the alleged perpetrator’s attorney under oath. So, take great care and time in preparing the Affidavit. Review it numerous times to make sure everything is correct. Make necessary corrections. Do not sign it until you know that it is true and accurate in every detail.
Sometimes you may not be given a form to complete, but rather you will have to appear before a Judge to tell the facts. In that case, before you see the Judge, you should write down notes similar to what you would write on the form. When you are before the Judge you can refer to your notes to refresh your recollection of the incidents of abuse that warrant a protective order. Look the Judge in the eye and tell him or her about each incident of abuse or threats.
This shows the importance of keeping a daily diary specifying in great detail all incidents of abuse or threats as they occur. Write the diary as you would write a movie script-that is, include every line and action. Describe every word, action, event that occurred. Tell what happened; what the perpetrator did and what injuries you suffered. Take pictures. Also, maintain in a safe place(s) any relevant documents (text messages, emails, letters, videos, audio recordings, pictures (of your bodily injuries, damaged property), medical records).