If you feel you are being subjected to violent behavior and/or have the reasonable belief that you are in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence, you can ask the Court for an Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence. The forms necessary to file for an injunction are available from the office of the Clerk of the Court Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM. After hours, the Sheriff's Office is available for this purpose in Alachua County and the Clerks of Court are available in the regional counties of the Circuit.
Filling out the forms will take approximately one hour to one and half hours. The forms must be clearly and neatly written since this is all a Judge will see before granting your request. This includes a short concise summary of the events to include any violence and threats made against you. Include the dates the events took place and any past incidents. If your request is granted, a temporary injunction will be issued which is in effect until the time of your court hearing. A full hearing is scheduled within 15 days with all parties appearing before the court. At the hearing the Judge will listen to the statements and evidence presented by both sides. Since this is a civil matter rather than a criminal, some of the issues covered may include the following:
Who will reside at the parties' residence.
What contact if any will be allowed between the parties.
If there are children involved, issues of custody, child support, and visitation will be addressed.
Referrals to counseling, evaluations, or treatment might be made.
The retrieving of personal and professional items by the offending party.
Surrendering of weapons and ammunition to law enforcement.
Please request assistance as early in the day as possible (preferably before noon) to allow sufficient time to complete paperwork and for the Court to review your paperwork.
This video focuses on the needs of parties considering a petition for protection. It is hoped that the video will assist petitioners (as well as respondents) in understanding Florida’s four orders of protection and the requirements for filing a petition.
This video is designed as an orientation to civil domestic violence court; the video provides important information about court room procedures, discusses the participants in the hearing, and answers many of the questions litigants might have about what will happen when they come to court.
Frequently Asked Questions
My spouse is physically abusive toward me and I am afraid. What can I do?
Peaceful Paths has victim advocacy programs. Contact Peaceful Paths at (352) 377-8255 or (800) 393-SAFE. Also, the Clerk of the Court in each county of the Eighth Judicial Circuit has petitions for protection against domestic violence you can complete and file.
A sheriff's deputy handed me papers. My spouse said I was harming him/her. I didn't do this. I want to see my kids. How do I do that?
Attend the hearing as stated on the Temporary Injunction paperwork with which you were served. Tell your side to the Judge at the time of the hearing. Consult with an attorney if you have questions.
How far is too far? When is an argument more than just an argument or considered "domestic violence"?
My spouse swears the abuse will never happen again. How do I get my injunction removed?
At the office of the Clerk of the Court, litigants can file a motion to dismiss. Appearance at the hearing is required.
I just got served with this Injunction and it says I have to be at the hearing on Tuesday. I can't miss work. Do I have to go?
Read the Injunction carefully because it tells litigants what will happen if they don't attend the hearing. The hearing will go on whether you attend or not.
Domestic Violence Resources
- Peaceful Paths Hotline (Alachua, Bradford, and Union Counties): 1 (800) 500-1119 or (352) 377-8255
Trained volunteers are available 24 hours a day to provide domestic violence counseling, advocacy and appropriate referrals. Other resources include support groups, counseling and immediate shelter for women impacted by domestic violence and their children. The main Outreach Office is located in Alachua County, at 2100 NW 53rd Avenue, Suite A, Gainesville, 32653.
- Another Way, Inc. (Levy, Gilchrist Counties): 1 (800) 500-1119
Staff and volunteers are available 24 hours a day to provide domestic violence counseling, advocacy and appropriate referrals. The facility provides counseling, support and long-term temporary shelter (3-6 months) for survivors of domestic violence. The Levy number is (352) 486-3305 and the Gilchrist number is (352) 463-6009.
- Hubbard House (Baker County): (904) 354-3114
Staff and volunteers are available 24 hours a day to provide domestic violence counseling, advocacy and appropriate referrals. The Hubbard House is a full service domestic violence center providing a safe, non-violent place for women to plan their futures. The facility provides group and individual counseling, support groups, and emergency shelter for survivors of domestic violence.
- Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence - Florida Domestic Violence Hotline (Statewide): 1-800-500-1119 (TDD 1-800-621-4202)
- Victim/Witness Services - State Attorney's Office: (352) 374-3627 or (352) 374-3688
- Alachua County Crisis Center: (352) 278-6789
- Department of Children and Families Florida Abuse Hotline: 1 (800) 962-2873, TDD: 1 (800) 453-5145
- Alachua County Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU): (352) 374-5600
- Alachua County Office of Victim Services: (352) 264-6760
- Alachua County Sheriff's Civil Bureau: (352) 384-3051
- Alachua County Sheriff's Victim Advocate Unit: (352) 367-4155
- University of Florida - Office of Victim Services: (352) 392-5648