AARDVARC - An Abuse Rape and Domestic Violence Aid and Resource Collection. Indiana directory of resources for victims of crimes including domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and child abuse. Information, referrals, publications and assistance for victims.
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- Indiana Victim Rights
- Indiana Protection Orders
- Indiana Court Ordered Restitution
- Indiana Crime Victim Compensation
- Emergency Hospital Services for Sex Crimes
- Crime Victim Safety in Court
Indiana Victim Rights
Article I, § 13(b) of the Indiana Constitution
Victims of crime have the right to be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect throughout the criminal justice process, to be informed of and present during public hearings, and confer with the prosecution, to the extent that exercising these rights does not infringe upon the constitutional rights of the accused.
This Amendment to the Indiana Constitution was passed overwhelmingly by both Houses of the 1994 General Assembly (Public Law 177-1994) and the 1995 General Assembly (Public Law 345-1995), before adoption by statewide referendum in the 1996 General Election.
In addition, Indiana Code 33-14-10-5 provides that the prosecuting attorney or the victim assistance program shall do the following:
(1) Inform a victim that the victim may be present at all public stages of the criminal justice process to the extent that the presence and statements of the victim do not interfere with the constitutional rights of the defendant, and that there has not been a court order restricting, limiting, or prohibiting attendance of the proceedings.
(2) Timely notify a victim of all hearings and proceedings that are scheduled for the matter in which a victim was involved.
(3) Promptly notify a victim when a court proceeding has been rescheduled or canceled.
(4) Obtain an interpreter or translator, if necessary, to advise a victim of the rights granted to a victim under the law.
(5) Coordinate efforts of local law enforcement agencies that are designed to inform victims promptly after an offense occurs of the availability of, and the application process for, community services for victims, and the families of victims, including information concerning services such Victim compensation funds, Assistance resources, Legal resource, Mental health services, Social services, Health resources, Rehabilitative services, and Financial assistance.
(6) Inform a victim that the court may order a defendant convicted of the offense involving the victim to pay restitution to the victim under IC 35-50-5-3.
(7) In a county having a victim-offender reconciliation program (VORP), provide an opportunity for a victim, if the accused person or the offender agrees, to meet with the accused person or the offender in a safe, controlled environment; and to give to the accused person or the offender, either orally or in writing, a summary of the financial, emotional, and physical effects of the offense on the victim and their family; and to negotiate a restitution agreement to be submitted to the sentencing court for damages incurred by the victim as a result of the offense.
(8) Assist a victim in preparing verified documentation necessary to obtain a restitution order under IC 35-50-5-3.
(9) Advise a victim of other rights granted to a victim under the law. If a victim participates in a victim-offender reconciliation program (VORP) under subsection (a)(7), the victim shall execute a waiver releasing the prosecuting attorney responsible for the victim assistance program; and the victim assistance program; from civil and criminal liability for actions taken by the victim, an accused person, or an offender as a result of participation by the victim, the accused person, or the offender in a victim-offender reconciliation program (VORP). A victim is not required to participate in a victim-offender reconciliation program (VORP) under subsection (a)(7). (As added by P.L.36-1990, 5.)
Indiana crime victims have additional rights including:
- The right to notification when an offender is released (IC 35-33-12)
- The right to notification of any plea agreement (IC 35-35-3)
- The right to confidential communications related to counseling (IC 35-37-6)
- The right to input at sentencing (IC 35-38-1-8)
Indiana Protection Orders
What types of Orders for Protection are there?
Orders for Protection protect people from domestic or family violence, stalking, or a sex offense.
There are 2 kinds of Orders for Protection:
Ex Parte Orders for Protection are issued without a hearing. Ex-parte orders are sometimes referred to as temporary orders. Ex parte (from one side) means that you file alone. Your abuser does not know about it and is not present in the courtroom. A court will consider your petition for an ex-parte order immediately upon your filing it.
In order to get an Ex-parte Order, you must prove to the court that you, a family or household member, or your property are in immediate danger from the abuser. They can last up to 2 years, or until another date specified by the judge.
Orders for Protection, as opposed to a "Ex-parte Orders for Protection," can only be issued after a court hearing in which you and the abuser both have a chance to tell your sides of the story. Orders for Protection normally last 2 years, unless the Judge decides on a different duration.
Who can get an Order of Protection?
In Indiana, you can file for an Order of Protection (Ex-parte and regular) against family or household members that have committed acts of domestic or family violence against you or your minor child.
Family or household members includes:
- a person who is your current or former spouse;
- a person who you are dating or have dated;
- a person who is engaged or was engaged in a sexual relationship with you;
- a person who is related to you by blood or adoption;
- a person who is related or was related to you by marriage;
- a person who has an established legal relationship or previously established a legal relationship to you as a guardian; as a ward; as a custodian; as a foster parent; or in a capacity similar to those listed who has a child in common with you.
You can also file for an Order of Protection against people who have committed stalking or a sex offenses against you or your minor child.
How can an Order of Protection Help Me?
Orders of Protection can do many things to protect you and your family from your abuser. Some of them can be granted without a hearing, with an Ex-Parte Order. Others require a hearing.
Here is a list of the different kinds of things a Judge can order and whether the law requires a hearing. Remember, the Respondent (your abuser) can always ask for a hearing, as long as the request is made within 30 days of receiving a copy of the Ex Parte Order. Whether a judge orders any or all of the below depends on the facts of your case.
Things that do not require a hearing unless the abuser asks for one:
- Prohibiting the abuser from committing, or threatening to commit, acts of domestic or family violence, stalking, or sex offenses against you or your family or household members;
- Prohibiting the abuser from harassing, annoying, telephoning, contacting, or directly or indirectly communicating with you;
- Ordering the abuser to stay away from your residence, school, place of employment, or other places; and, ordering the abuser to stay away from places where you or your family or household members regularly go.
Things that can be ordered by the Judge right away, but that require a hearing to be held within 30 days:
- Evicting the Respondent from the Petitioner's home;
- Ordering the Respondent to give the Petitioner the possession and use of a home they both share; a car or other motor vehicle; other necessary personal items; ordering other additional relief.
Things that can only be ordered by the Judge once a hearing has been held:
How much does it cost to get a protective order?
- Visitation: establish rules for visitation, require that it be supervised by a third party, or deny visitation altogether;
- Ordering the abuser to pay for various things, such as attorney fees; rent/mortgage payments; child support/maintenance; medical expenses, counseling, shelter, repair or replacement of damaged property;
- Prohibiting the abuser from possessing firearms, ammunition, or deadly weapons; and,
- If the abuser owns a firearm, ammunition, or a deadly weapon, ordering them surrender those items to a local law enforcement agency for the duration of the Order for Protection.
There are no fees charged to file any petitions for protection orders.
Do I need a lawyer?
You do not need a lawyer in order to file for an Order of Protection, but it may be in your interest to hire one, especially if your abuser is represented by one. A domestic violence organization in your area may be able to refer you to an attorney or legal aid service that will take your case for free. You can contact the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence at (800) 538-3393 to find local assistance for the process.
What are the steps for obtaining an Order of Protection?
Step 1: Get the necessary forms.
In most counties in Indiana, you can go to any court to ask for a protective order. Some counties may require that you go to a particular type of court or a particular division in a courthouse. Once you are at the court, find the civil court clerk and request a petition for a protective order. You will fill out a nonconfidential petition, as well as a confidential form which is standardized across the state. You can find petition forms online
as well as comprehensive directions
Step 3: Fill out the petition
The person asking for the Order is called the Petitioner. The person the Petitioner is filing against is called the Respondent. In order to file a case, you must have the correct name; date of birth or Social Security number; and, correct, current address for the Respondent.
Carefully fill out the forms. Some courts may require that the Petition be typewritten. The Petition is a public document. A copy of the Petition will be kept in the Court file. Also, if an Ex Parte Order for Protection is granted or if the case is set for a hearing, a copy of the Petition will be sent to the Respondent. Remember to sign and date the Petition.
Step 3: Go to the nearest court and apply
To file for an Order of Protection in Indiana, go to the county courthouse in the county where you live, where the abuse took place, or where the accused abuser may be served. Take all of your completed forms and all copies to the Clerks office. The Clerk will tell you where to take your papers. Any domestic violence agency in your area should be able to provide you with help filling out the form.
The court clerk is also required by law to provide you with an explanation of the process for obtaining an order, information about when the order becomes effective, and information about procedures to follow if the order is violated by your abuser.
Step 4: A judge will review your petition
After you finish filling out your petition, bring it to the court clerk. The clerk will forward it to a judge. The judge may wish to ask you questions as he or she reviews your petition. If the Judge signs the Ex Parte Order for Protection, take the original and all copies to the Clerk. At some point, the Clerk will place a case number on all of the papers. The Clerk will file-stamp the copies (showing the date of filing). The clerk will keep some copies and give you some copies. The Clerk will also keep the Confidential Form.
If you get an Ex Parte Order for Protection, make sure you get several copies from the clerk that are file-stamped and that have a judicial signature on them. Think about how many copies of the Order you will need: one to carry with you; one copy to give to your employer; one copy for your landlord/security guard; one copy for your kids school, etc.
If the court must hold a hearing on your Petition, make sure you know the correct date and time of the hearing before you leave. Make sure you have the telephone number for the court so that you can call ahead a few days before the hearing and confirm the court date and time.
Step 5: Service of process
Your Order for Protection is not valid until the abuser has been presented with (or served) a copy of the protective order and the nonconfidential petition. The court is required by law to send copies of the order and notice of hearing to the police or sheriff. The appropriate law enforcement agency will serve the abuser. Indiana law requires that any papers served on the abuser do not contain information relating to your whereabouts. FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY, DO NOT TRY TO SERVE THESE PAPERS TO AN ABUSER YOURSELF. Instead, ask the Clerk, or an advocate from your local domestic violence program if they have a service or can recommend a server to do this for you.
Step 6: The Hearing
You must go to the hearing. If you do not go to the hearing, your ex-parte order may expire and you may have to start the process over. If you do not show up at the hearing it may be harder for you to be granted an order in the future. If the abuser does not show up for the hearing the judge may still grant you a protective order, or the judge may order a new hearing date.
What will I have to prove at the hearing?
As the petitioner requesting a Order of Protection, you must:
1. Prove that the respondent has committed acts of domestic violence (as defined by the law) against you or your children; and
2. Convince a judge that you need protection and the specific things you asked for in the Complaint.
What should I do before the hearing to prepare my case?
Contact witnesses who saw the abuse or your injuries. Anyone can be a witness: a friend, family member, children, emergency room nurse, doctor, a stranger who saw or heard the abuse take place, a law enforcement officer, etc. Some witnesses may not come to court unless they are given a subpoena, which commands them to appear and testify. Ask the court clerk about the subpoena process. Let the judge know if the people you subpoenaed do not come to the hearing.
If your children witnessed the abuse, you should tell the judge that they were present. However, you should seriously consider not having the children testify in court to avoid putting them in the uncomfortable position of possibly testifying against their other parent.
The judge may choose not to hear from a witness because of the short amount of time given to each hearing.
Get evidence and documentation to help you prove your case, which might include:
Practice telling your story.
- your statements or witness statements about the incident(s), delivered in person during the court hearing
- Medical reports
- Police reports
- Dated pictures of your injuries. If the police took photos during their investigation, you may be able to request copies of those photos from the police photo lab. You may have to pay for those copies. You should consider taking your own series of photos to document the progress of any bruising or other injuries you sustained.
- Household objects torn or broken by your abuser and/orpictures of your household in disarray after an episode of domestic violence.
- Weapons used
- Tapes of calls you may have made to 911. Contact the records division of your police or sheriff. You will likely be required to submit a written request for copies of the 911 calls. Many agencies only keep these tapes for 30 days, so it is important to act QUICKLY while there is still time to set aside the tapes before they are recorded over.
- Certified copies of the abusers criminal record. Again, you can get this via your local law enforcement agency.
- Anything else to help you convince the judge you have suffered acts of domestic violence and need certain relief and protection
The more evidence you have, the greater your chances of being granted a protective order. However, the judge will listen to your story even if you have no physical evidence or witnesses.
You may want to make an outline or notes of the history of violence by your abuser. You may take notes to court with you to look at if you forget something, but the judge may order that the abuser be allowed to see the notes if you read from them.
Tell your story in your own words, but leave out details that have nothing to do with the violence or threats of violence. Also, rather than saying He or she hit me, tell the judge how you were hit, where on your body you were hit, and how many times. Be specific.
Be sure to mention:
- The most recent 2 incidents of violence
- The worst 2 incidents of violence
- Whether the abuser has a gun or other weapons, and
- Whether the abuser has threatened to physically hurt or kill you
What should I do on the day of the hearing?
Be on time. Have your witnesses there and ready. If you have subpoenaed witnesses and they are not present you should inform the judge. Dress neatly. Speak directly to the judge; he or she will understand if you feel nervous. Always address the judge as Your Honor. Be prepared to spend all day in court. (There may be hearings before yours.) If your abuser comes to court with a lawyer and you are not represented, ask the judge for a continuance so you can look for a lawyer. Once your case is called, enter the courtroom and find a seat. It is your right to take another seat if the abuser sits next to you, and to receive help from court staff in keeping the abuser away from you.
Stand when the judge enters and sit when the judge or bailiff asks you to. Relax and remain calm. Take deep breaths if you feel yourself getting tense. Never lose your temper in the courtroom.
Always tell the truth. If you do not understand a question, just say so.
If you do not know the answer to a question, just say so. Never make up an answer.
What is the order of events in the courtroom?
At the hearing, everyone who testifies will swear to tell the truth.
You will tell your side of the story first. The judge and your abuser may ask you questions. If you are afraid to answer any of them, tell the judge. When you are finished your witnesses will take the stand. You may ask them questions, and then the judge and the abuser will have a turn to ask them questions.
The abuser will tell their side of the story. It may be very different from yours. The judge will ask them questions, and you may also ask questions. The judge will make a decision after hearing both sides and considering the evidence.
If the judge decides in your favor, the judge will sign an Order for Protection. The Order for Protection will have boxes checked or things written in by the judge that the abuser has been ordered to do. The judge should also include the date of expiration for the Order for Protection. You will be given a copy of the order. Review it carefully before you leave the courthouse. If you have ANY questions about it, be sure to ask the judge.
What should I do when I leave the courthouse?
Review the order before you leave the courthouse. If something is wrong or missing, ask the clerk to correct the order before you leave.
Make several copies of the order as soon as possible. Keep a copy of the order with you at all times. Leave copies of the order at your work place, at your home, at your schools or daycare centers, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on. Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work.
Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order. If the court has not given you an extra copy for your local law enforcement agency, take one of your extra copies and deliver it to them. You may wish to consider changing your locks and your phone number. If you are concerned about costs to have this done, contact your local domestic violence program. Often they have special deals or contracts or there may be local programs which can pay to have this done for you. Do not let the added burden of a few dollars jepardize your safety.
It is important to recognize the limitations of an Order for Protection. You must be vigilant in enforcing the order by reporting every violation to the police or the court.
Ongoing safety planning
is important after receiving the order. You can do a number of things to increase safety during violent incidents, when preparing to leave an abusive relationship, and when you are at home, work, and school. Many batterers obey protective orders, but some do not and it is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe. Advocates at local resource centers can assist you in designing a safety plan and can provide other forms of support.
What can I do if the abuser violates the order?
It is a crime to violate any clause of a protective order. Call the police or sheriff immediately if the abuser violates the order, even if you think it is a minor violation. An abuser can be arrested, fined and jailed. It is a good idea to write down the name of the responding officer(s) and their badge number in case you want to follow up on your case. Make sure a police report is filled out, even if no arrest is made. If you have legal documentation of all violations of the order it will help you have the order extended or modified.
If the police do not arrest the abuser immediately you may still go to the court and file criminal charges against the abuser. Many victims complain that an abuser will violate the order but that they cannot prove it so the police do nothing. The most common things include abusers who drive past your house, or who briefly park outside the grocery store or your place of employment. They do this to intimidate you, knowing that they can be long gone before the police arrive. This stalking behavior is often the most emotionally taxing for victims, but there IS something you can do about it.
Disposeable cameras for under $5.00
are great for documenting violations. Keep several handy; one in your car, one near the front door, one in your purse, and snap pictures. The day you get the cameras, take a photo of the front page of the newspaper for that day. This will document a starting date, in other words, any photos taken later in the roll must have occurred after that date and then bingo, you have proof that the order has been violated. BEFORE you rush out to develop the film, call your local police department. They may want you to turn the camera over to them so that they can develop it themselves. Often letting the police handle it will provide a better chain of evidence and your case will be that much stronger.
How do I change or extend the order?
If you wish to extend or modify the order you must go back to court and have a judge make any modifications. You must attend another hearing in order to have the protective order extended. If you want to extend your order, it is best to start the petition process before your first order expires, so that you are not left unprotected. If you cancel, modify or extend your protective order, you must file a notice with the clerk of courts.
Can I get my Order for Protection from Indiana enforced in another state?
Yes. If you move, your order must be given full faith and credit in any other state, territorial or tribal court. 18 U.S.C. Secs. 2265 and 2266. That means that your order will be good wherever you go. Some states, however, require that you register your order with them before it is effective. If you move, call the clerk of court in your new area. Tell the clerk that you have an Order for Protection from Indiana and ask if you need to register it with them. Indiana will usually recognize out-of-state orders without your needing to file again.
Civil protective orders may not be enforceable on military bases, and military protective orders may not be enforceable off base. Check with your local domestic violence program and/or military Judge Advocate General's office for details.
Indiana Restitution Orders
IC 35-50-5-3 Version b: Restitution orders
Except as provided, in addition to any sentence imposed for a felony or misdemeanor, the court may, as a condition of probation or without placing the person on probation, order the person to make restitution to the victim of the crime, or the estate or family of a victim who is deceased. The court shall base its restitution order upon a consideration of:
(1) property damages of the victim incurred as a result of the crime, based on the actual cost of repair (or replacement if repair is inappropriate);
(2) medical and hospital costs incurred by the victim (before the date of sentencing) as a result of the crime;
(3) the cost of medical laboratory tests to determine if the crime has caused the victim to contract a disease or other medical condition;
(4) earnings lost by the victim (before the date of sentencing) as a result of the crime including earnings lost while the victim was hospitalized or participating in the investigation or trial of the crime; and
(5) funeral, burial, or cremation costs incurred by the family or estate of a homicide victim as a result of the crime.
A restitution order is a judgment lien that attaches to the property of the person subject to the order; and it may be enforced to satisfy any payment that is delinquent under the restitution order by the person in whose favor the order is issued or their assignee.
The issuing court shall send a certified copy of the order to the clerk of the circuit court in the county where the felony or misdemeanor charge was filed. The restitution order must include the name and address of the person that is to receive the restitution and the amount of restitution the person is to receive.
You can still sue an offender for any additional damages that the court did not require them pay you.
The court shall base its restitution order upon a consideration of the amount of money that the convicted person converted, misappropriated, or received, or for which the convicted person conspired.
Indiana Crime Victim Compensation
Violent Crime Victim Compensation
In 1978, the Indiana General Assembly enacted into law a program to provide financial assistance for violent crime victims known as Indiana Violent Crime Victim Compensation Fund. The fund assists victims or their dependents with medical expenses, funeral expenses, lost wages and psychological counseling.
The compensation fund also allows payment of expenses resulting from the collection of evidence after an alleged sexual assualt without the burden of the expense falling on the shoulders of the victim. Limited counseling services can also be covered by the fund if the counseling is physician-ordered.
Funding is provided by a grant from the United States Department of Justice, a percentage of court fees collected statewide, work release money, restitution and trust funds.
The Indiana Code defines a violent crime as a felony or Class A misdemeanor that results in bodily injury or death to the victim. Persons eligible for assistance from this fund include:
- an innocent victim of any violent crime, including a motor vehicle crash caused by a drunk driver;
- a surviving spouse, dependent child or other legal dependent of an innocent victim who has been killed as a result of any violent crime, including a motor vehicle crash caused by a drunk driver;
- a person who is injured or killed trying to prevent a violent crime or giving aid to a law enforcement officer;
- the immediate family members of a murder victim or sex crime victim who need mental health counseling
You cannot receive payment is you did not receive injury as a result of a crime, if you engaged in misconduct that caused or contributed to the crime or if you were injured while confined to a correctional facility.
Other requirements include:
- the crime must have taken place in Indiana;
- the crime must have been reported to the police within 48 hours unless a good reason existed why the crime could not have been reported in that time
- the victim or survivors must have been cooperative in the investigation and prosecution of the crime;
- application for benefits must be filed no later than 180 daysafter the crime occurred
A maximum award of up to $15,000 may be available to help cover expense resulting from any one injury or death. Eligible crime related expenses include medical, hospital, surgical, pharmacy, dental and ambulance expenses; up to $3,000 for funeral and burial expenses; up to $1,500 for counseling; lost wages; loss of support; reasonable child care services; attorney fees; and emergency shelter services.
The program will not reimburse victims for personal property lost, damaged or destroyed during a crime or for pain and suffering. These things must be sought in a civil suit with a private attorney. You can find one using Legal Match
. Post your case anonymously and attorneys will respond with their thoughts, suggestions and offers to take your case.
Local county victim advocates should have the necessary applications. Also, the advocate will assist victims in completing and filing the application. If there is no advocate in your county, contact the Violent Crime Compensation Office at 317-232-7103 or 800-353-1484. Victim Services at your local county prosecutor or law enforcement agency can help you fill out the form but you must sign the application yourself. The application must be sent to:
Indiana Criminal Justice Institute
One North Capitol, Suite 1000
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204-2038
The compensation program has a statewide toll-free telephone number for victims at 1-800-353-1484. Victims may contact the office to obtain information regarding their compensation application.
Emergency funding is available to assist victims of crime who are faced with an immediate, financial hardship that is in direct relation to the crime that consequently leads to the need of services.
IC 16-21-8-6 Emergency Hospital Services for Sex Crime Victims
When a hospital provides emergency services under this chapter to an alleged sex crime victim, the hospital shall furnish the services without charge. The victim services division of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute shall reimburse a hospital for the hospital's costs in providing the services and shall adopt rules and procedures to provide for reimbursement. A hospital may not charge the victim for services required under this chapter, despite delays in reimbursement from the victim services division of the Indiana criminal justice institute.
As added by P.L.2-1993, 4. Amended by P.L.47-1993, 10.
Crime Victim Safety in Court
IC 35-37-4-11 and IC 35-37-4-12 : Victim Safeguards During Court Proceedings
During court proceedings a court shall provide safeguards necessary to minimize the contact of the victim of an offense or delinquent act with a defendant accused of the offense or a juvenile accused of committing the delinquent act; and the relatives and friends of a defendant accused of the offense; or a juvenile accused of committing the delinquent act.
The safeguards required may include courthouse waiting areas for victims that are separated from those waiting areas specified for defendants, juveniles alleged to be delinquent children, and the relatives and friends of accused persons.
If the physical safety of a victim or their immediate family is in danger, a victim may not be required to give personal information during the course of sworn testimony regarding the following telephone numbers, place of employment or home address.