Victim Safety and Rights Information
Anyone can be a victim. You have a right to be safe from abuse, harassment, and threats. Help is available for you and your family-free and confidential. DO NOT HESITATE TO CALL FOR HELP.
- You and your children, if any, have the right to be safe from harm and threats. Take action now to prevent future harm.
- Call the London Police Department or protection and to make a report of the incident(s). Under certain circumstances, abusers may be arrested without a warrant.
- Get medical attention, copies of records and photos of any injuries and areas of pain. Some injuries, like bruises, need to be photographed again as they change.
- If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, contact the nearest Rape Crisis Center for confidential information and counseling, even if the abuse occurred years earlier. If the incident was recent, preserve evidence of the assault--do not bathe, change clothes, or brush your teeth. Go to a hospital for treatment and evidence collection. A sexual assault examination (medical-forensic) and other related tests should be conducted within 96 hours following the assault-whether or not you choose to talk with a police officer or victim advocate at that time. As long as the police are notified, the exam should be paid for by the Crime Victim Compensation Board. Even with no apparent physical injuries, this exam is important for your own health and protection (risks for sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy), and the evidence collected will be available for any legal action at a later date, if needed.
- You can file a criminal complaint with the County Attorney. You may also file a petition for a Domestic Violence Protective Order through your local courthouse (no fees or attorney required). Your location should remain confidential on these records. If the abuser violates a protective order (EPO, DVO) or Conditions of Release after an arrest, report it! The abuse may be arrested or held in contempt of court.
- Ask about other rights you may have under the Kentucky Crime Victim's Bill of Rights (KRS 421.500).
Emergency Protective Orders (EPO)
Are temporary, short term orders that can...
- Direct the abuser to stop the abuse, leave the residence, have no contact or communication, and/or restrain from disposing or damaging property.
- Provide the petitioner with temporary custody of minor children.
- Provide other relief needed to prevent future domestic violence and abuse (e.g., confiscation of weapons, custody of pets, etc.).
Protective Order or Restraining Order?
Protective orders can be promptly enforced by police and the courts because these court orders must be entered into computer systems such as the Law Information Network of Kentucky (LINK). Officers across the country can access this protective order information at any time in order to enforce these court orders. However, Restraining Orders and Divorce Decrees are not entered into such systems. They require the services of an attorney and a court hearing before they can be enforced.
Cabinet for Health and Family Services - Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) 1-800-752-6200
Your local DCBS office in Laurel County (606-330-2015) has trained social workers who are responsible for assisting victims of adult and child maltreatment (e.g., domestic and family violence, harm by caretaker). When appropriate, a trained social worker will contact you to arrange a safe time to confidentially discuss this report and offer assistance to you and your family, a trained social worker will contact you to arrange a safe time to confidentially discuss this report and offer assistance to you and your family, if indicated. Adult domestic violence victims have the right to accept or decline services at that time and may ask for services at a later date, if needed. Examples of voluntary protective and supportive services include but are not limited to:
- Safe, protective shelter/housing (adults and children)
- Health/mental health care
- Victim advocacy (children, court, health care, work, etc.)
- Financial assistance
- Legal protection (police and courts)
- Housing assistance
- Preventative assistance
- Information on domestic violence/sexual assault
- Child care
- Employment and education assistance
- Information and referrals
The services provided by Domestic Violence and Rap Crisis Centers and the Department of Community Based Services are free and confidential.