Victims' Safety

Highlighting Victim Safety:

  • Provide victims with immediate access to advocates. Every victim should be given immediate access to an advocate who can provide safety planning and explain court procedures. A victim should remain paired with her advocate throughout the case (i.e., from police response through post-disposition).

  • Quickly link victims with social services. Advocates should link victims with social service agencies, emergency shelter, food, and civil legal services, as necessary.

  • Keep victims informed. In addition to providing general information and referrals, advocates should provide victims with up-to-date information on their cases. Victims are also more likely to follow through with a case when they clearly understand the legal process.

  • Schedule cases promptly. Another way to enhance victim safety is to schedule domestic violence cases promptly so that victims can get an order of protection quickly. The longer the victim must wait for legal action, the longer she is at risk.

  • Create safe places within the courthouse. Court planners should provide security and comfort for victims. Design elements can include providing private space to speak with advocates and separate waiting areas near the victim services office.

  • Tribal Code Development – Provisions to enhance victim safety include:

    • “Fast Track” programs strengthen victim safety by holding the offender responsible quickly and effectively.

Mandatory arrest provisions –

  • Under a domestic violence mandatory arrest policy, if an officer finds probable cause to believe domestic violence has occurred he/she must arrest the offender and transport them to jail for booking. The defendant appears in court the day following the offense. A Notice to Appear is given to the victim requesting their presence the same day the defendant appears. Being present in court allows a victim to:

  • receive immediate support

  • request special conditions for bond

  • leave with a copy of their mandatory protection order (MPO)

  • meet with a deputy district attorney

  • discuss a possible disposition of their case

  • begin safety planning with a victim advocate

Mandatory protective orders

  • In criminal cases, a Mandatory Protection Order is issued by the court at the defendant’s first appearance. This mandatory protection order restrains a person from harassing, molesting, intimidating, retaliating against, or tampering with any witness or victim of a crime.

  • The order remains in effect until the final disposition of the case, completion of sentence or acquittal.

Domestic violence offender firearm bans

  • Federal law

  • Possession of firearm while subject to order of protection – 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8)

  • Transfer of firearm to person subject to order of protection – 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(8)

  • Possession of firearm after conviction of misdemeanor crime of domestic violence – 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9)

  • Transfer of firearm to person convicted of misdemeanor crime of domestic violence – 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(9)

Domestic Violence Firearm Prohibitions (PDF)