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Domestic Violence: A Practical Guide for Victims
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Domestic Violence


Domestic violence may be physical, sexual or emotional: slapping, punching, shoving, beating, kicking, threats of harm, deprivation of sleep or affection, sexual assault, harassment, insults, other verbal abuse or any pattern of behavior that causes emotional harm. Violent behavior toward others is wrong; it is against the law no matter who does it: a stranger, a neighbor, someone you live with or a family member. Most acts of violence are committed within the family circle. Many acts of abuse are unreported and the victims cover up the injuries they receive.

Victims often make up excuses for the abusers' violent behavior, often blaming themselves.

Most violence in the home follows a pattern: the abuser grows more tense and irritable until some event triggers the violence.

Abusers are often sorry and apologetic afterwards; however, chances are the violent behavior will continue and probably get worse.

Nothing excuses violence: not a bad day, rudeness, a need for control or the way someone was raised.

Children are directly and indirectly affected by the violence between you and your partner. Although there is no conclusive evidence that children raised in an abusive home are likely to become abusers or victims of abuse, you and your children need not remain in an abusive situation.

You are not alone even though the abuser may have kept you away from friends and family.

People and laws exist that will help you take action to prevent "the next time" from happening.


Preparing to Leave

You are not powerless or locked into a battering relationship forever. You can prepare to leave at the right time. It often takes time mentally and emotionally to end a violent relationship. While you are thinking about "getting out:"

1. Gather together originals or copies of as many of these important family documents and records as you can:

  • birth certifications for yourself and
  • your children;
  • deed or lease to your home;
  • checkbook(s), extra checks and bank
  • statements;
  • car registration, title, extra keys;
  • social security cards;
  • marriage license;
  • tax returns - W2s;
  • insurance policies and premiums;
  • paycheck stubs, yours and spouse's;
  • picture I.D.;
  • joint charge cards;
  • children's immunization records;
  • documentation of household possessions

Many of these documents will be necessary in order for you to obtain housing, public assistance, or free or inexpensive legal services. However, if you are in immediate danger and find a chance to leave, do so. Law enforcement can later accompany you back to your home for personal items.

2. Make extra copies of protection orders and keep them in safe places. Show the order to police officers to improve their response.

3. Set aside what extra cash you can in a safe place.

4. Hide an extra set of car and home keys outside the house or at a neighbor's.

5. Plan and practice an escape route out of the home and safety plan for the children.

6. Know where you can go and how you will get there in case you have to leave suddenly.

7. Keep a bag packed and hidden in a safe place at home, locked in a car trunk, or with a safe relative or friend, in case of flight. It should include money, clothing, diapers, court documentation, passports, identification, school and medical records, necessary medicines, credit cards, work permits or green cards.

8. Make the home as safe as possible by changing the locks and adding deadbolts. Remove sharp objects and weapons from sight.

9. Use the block code *67 when making telephone calls.

10. Develop signals for neighbors and friends to call the police, such as banging on the floor or wall.

When Violence Happens – Options

  1. Call law enforcement
  2. Leave your home
  3. Seek medical treatment
  4. Seek counseling

1. Call law enforcement

If you have been physically injured by anyone, you can call the police if you live in a city or the sheriff if you live outside the city limits. Kansas is a "mandatory arrest" state which means that a law enforcement officer must arrest a person in a domestic violence situation if the officer believes that a crime has been committed. Physically injuring or threatening to injure a person is a crime. If the injury is committed by a family member, someone you live with or used to live with or a person with whom you share a child in common, it may be a crime of domestic battery. If your abuser has violated a protective order prohibiting the abuser from having contact with you, that, too, is a crime. Show law enforcement officers any evidence of physical violence and any protective order which prohibits the abuser from contacting you.

If you want to leave your home, law enforcement will generally stay with you while you pack your belongings. They may also transport you to a hospital or a safe place. Write down the officers' names and keep them advised if you are not going to remain in your home.

Law enforcement will write up a report and forward it to the county or district attorney who will then decide whether to file criminal charges against your abuser. You cannot force a county/district attorney to file charges. If charges are filed, the county/district attorney will contact you to get more information and discuss the possibility of your testifying at a court proceeding.

2. Leave your home

You can leave your home and stay with friends or family. You can also stay at a shelter that provides services for victims of domestic abuse. Most domestic violence agencies have 24 hour crisis lines. See pages 8-12 for a list of Kansas shelters. Take your children with you as well as any of the documents listed on page 2.

3. Seek medical treatment

If your injuries are such that you can't wait to see your regular doctor, go to the emergency room of your local hospital and get treatment.

4. Seek counseling

Contact the nearest domestic violence agency. (See the list on pages 8-12) Most agencies provide free confidential counseling services and can help you decide what to do next.

Legal Options

1. Protection from Abuse Order (PFA)

This is a court order that will prohibit your abuser from contacting you if you can show the following:

  1. You have lived with your abuser or used to live with the abuser or have/had a child in common with the abuser; and
  2. Your abuser has attempted to physically injure you or has actually injured you or placed you in fear of being harmed by threatening you physically; or
  3. Your abuser has engaged in sexual conduct with a minor under 16 who is not married to the abuser.

Where can I get a PFA and when?

You can go to any clerk of a district court and apply for a PFA. Preferably, you should go to the district court where your abuser lives so that the abuser can be more easily served with a copy of the petition. You'll need to provide a current address for the abuser so that the sheriff can serve the petition or order on the abuser.


You may be eligible for a PFA which is effective immediately if the judge believes that there is an immediate and present danger to you or your minor children. This order will last until the day of the hearing which is set for sometime within 20 days after you file the petition and can be continued in effect for a longer period of time if the abuser hasn't been served. It is very important that you appear for all court dates relating to your PFA or the judge may dismiss your petition.

If the court is closed but you can find a judge, the judge may give you an emergency order prohibiting your abuser from contacting you. This order expires at 5 p.m. on the first day that the court is open, so it will be necessary to obtain another order.

Once the petition is served on the abuser, he/she may call you and promise to make changes in the relationship, hoping that you will dismiss the petition. Promises are easy to make but hard to keep. Get the order. Don't gamble away your safety or the safety of your children.

How much does it cost, and do I need an attorney?

There is no filing fee and no requirement that you hire an attorney unless you want to do so.

What can a PFA do for me?

A PFA is a court order that can address the following:

  1. Prohibit the abuser or both you and the abuser from contacting each other;
  2. Grant possession of the house/apartment/dwelling unit to you and forbid the abuser from coming onto the property. However, if you are not married to the abuser and the abuser owns the property, the judge cannot give you possession of the house.
  3. Require one of the parties to provide housing for the spouse and minor children of the parties;
  4. Award temporary custody, residency, and parenting time in regard to the children;
  5. Order law enforcement to evict one of the parties from the household;
  6. Order child support and/or maintenance (alimony) to the spouse for a period of one year which can be extended for an additional year;
  7. Award costs and attorney fees;
  8. Order law enforcement to help a party secure possession of the party's personal items from the home;
  9. Require the abuser to seek counseling;
  10. Prohibit the abuser from canceling utility services for 60 days after the PFA issues.

The Hearing

In some counties, your first appearance before a judge is called a "docket call." You must appear for that docket call. If the abuser fails to appear after having been served with the petition or appears and doesn't contest the order, the judge will grant the PFA. If the abuser appears and contests the order, the judge may set the matter for hearing at a future date. If there's already a temporary order, the judge will most likely continue that order until the hearing date.

On the day of the hearing, the judge will decide whether to issue a permanent PFA. If you don't appear, the judge may dismiss the petition. If the abuser hasn't been served with a copy of the petition, the judge may reschedule the hearing so as to provide the abuser an opportunity to appear and tell his/her story to the judge.

If the abuser appears at the hearing, the judge will listen to you and the abuser and then decide whether to issue a PFA. Bring to court any pictures of your injuries, witnesses to the abuse, copies of police or medical reports.

If you ask for child support, bring any evidence of your income as well as the abuser's income. Know what personal property you want the judge to award to you. If you have receipts or titles for the property, bring them to the hearing to prove ownership.

If you are asking for residential custody of your children, be prepared to justify why you would be the better parent to have residential custody. If you are awarded residential custody, the judge may award parenting time (visitation) to the abuser. Be prepared to offer a safe plan for exchanging children for parenting time.

Who gets copies of the PFA?

You and the abuser will get a copy of the order as well as the police department if you live in a city or the sheriff's office if you live outside of a city. Keep a copy of the order with you at all times. If the abuser violates the order, you'll need to show it to law enforcement. The PFA is also entered into the NCIC (National Crime Information Center) system, so any law enforcement officer should be able to verify its existence. Give a copy to your child care provider if you are granted custody of your children.

How long does the PFA last?

Up to 1 year. You can then ask the court to extend the PFA for another 12 months. You can only use the PFA procedure twice in any 12 month period unless there is abuse of a minor.

What if the abuser doesn't comply with the PFA?

Violation of the PFA is a crime. If the abuser contacts you or tries to come onto your property, there may be violations of the laws prohibiting assault and trespass. If the abuser contacts you in person or by phone, fax, or e-mail, call law enforcement and make a complaint. In some jurisdictions, law enforcement is reluctant to arrest a person who has violated a restraining order unless the abuser is caught in the act. Therefore, keep any evidence of the contact such as the abuser's message on your answering machine, a copy of the e-mail, or someone who witnessed the abuser confronting you. You can also return to court with an attorney and seek to hold the abuser in contempt of court.

No PFA or any kind of restraining order can protect you if your abuser chooses not to abide by the order. Therefore, don't rely upon it as your sole means of protection. If you are in danger, find a safe place to stay. Lock your doors and windows. Keep your car doors locked. Change your routine by taking a different route to work or school. Change your hours at work, if possible. Let your neighbors and co-workers know what is going on. Consider purchasing a cell phone and carrying it with you at all times.

What if I don't qualify for a PFA?

You may be able to obtain a civil injunction if you can establish a pattern of harassment or threatened or existing abuse. You should contact an attorney for advice on your specific situation.

What if my abuser and I get back together?

Getting back together does not cancel any restraining order, including a PFA. The abuser is still in violation of the order. As a practical matter, however, it is unlikely that an abuser will be prosecuted for violating a restraining order if you invited the contact.

What if I leave the state and the abuser follows me? Is the PFA still enforceable?

Yes. Most states will honor another state's PFA. Make sure you keep the PFA with you at all times and contact local law enforcement if the abuser contacts you in violation of the order.

2. Divorce

If you file for divorce, you can also ask the judge to issue an order prohibiting your spouse from "molesting or interfering with [your privacy]" during the pendency of the divorce action. Violation of this order is a crime. You can call law enforcement and/or discuss with your attorney the possibility of requesting that the judge hold your spouse in contempt of court.

3. Criminal Charges

Domestic battery is a crime. If you have been physically harmed by a family member, a person with whom you have a child, or a person you reside with or formerly resided with, you can call law enforcement and make a complaint. There may be other violations of criminal laws depending upon the abuser's conduct. Violation of restraining orders, including orders granted in divorce actions, that prohibit the abuser from contacting you is a crime.

Even though an abuser may be arrested, the county/district attorney makes the ultimate decision whether to prosecute the abuser. You can't force a county/district attorney to prosecute nor can you stop a county/district attorney from prosecuting the abuser.

If arrested, how long will the abuser stay in jail?

Depending upon the crime, the abuser may "bond out" (be released) after a few hours. If the abuser has violated a PFA or a restraining order in a divorce action, the abuser will not be able to bond out until the abuser's first appearance before the judge as long as that appearance occurs within 48 hours.

While most bonds require that the abuser have no contact with you, if you think that the abuser may try to contact you, you might want to consider finding a safe place to stay. If the abuser contacts you in violation of the bond restriction, contact law enforcement because violation of the "no contact" bond restriction is a crime. [K.S.A. 21-3843]

If criminal charges are filed, get the name of the court services officer who will supervise the abuser. If the abuser violates the bond condition of "no contact," report the violation to the court services officer. The court services officer may consider revoking the bond which means that the abuser will have to stay in jail until the trial.

What happens if the county/district attorney files charges?

If the county/district attorney files criminal charges, the abuser may plead guilty and you will not be required to testify. However, if the abuser is tried, you can be subpoenaed (ordered) to testify. If the abuser is convicted, the abuser may be sentenced to jail or put on probation. One of the probation restrictions may prohibit the abuser from contacting you.

Many counties have a victim/witness coordinator in the county/district attorney's office. This person can help you understand the legal process, connect you with local support services and provide information about compensation for expenses incurred as a result of the abuse. Your local domestic violence agency may also have advocates who can help you through the process.

The Crime Victims Rights Division of the Kansas Attorney General may also be able to advise you. The telephone numbers are 1-800-828-9745 or 785-291-3690.

Kansas Domestic Violence Programs

National 24-hour (800) 799-7233 - TDD (800) 787-3224

Statewide 24-hour (800) 400-8864




(Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program)

P.O. Box 262

Atchison, Kansas 66002

(913) 367-0363 (crisis)

(913) 367-0365 (office)

(913) 367-7215 (FAX)

(800) 367-7075 (Jefferson and Doniphan Counties Satellite Programs)


Safe House Inc.

(Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program)

P.O. Box 792

Coffeyville, Kansas 67337

(620) 251-3772 (crisis/office)

(888) 320-7218 (crisis)

(620) 251-0030 (outpatient)

(620) 331-7822 (Independence Satellite Program)

Dodge City


(Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program)

P.O. Box 1173

Dodge City, Kansas 67801

(620) 225-6510 (crisis)

(620) 225-6987 (office)

(620) 225-3522 (FAX)

El Dorado


(Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program)

P.O. Box 735

115 S. Washington

El Dorado, Kansas 67042

(316) 321-7104 (crisis/office)

(800) 870-6967 (crisis)

(316) 321-1018 (FAX)



(Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program)

P.O. Box 1191

Emporia, Kansas 66801

(620) 342-1870 (crisis)

(800) 825-1295 (crisis)

(620) 343-8799 (office)

(620) 343-3070 (FAX)

Great Bend


(Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program)

P.O. Box 1543

Great Bend, Kansas 67530

(620) 792-1885 (crisis)

(620) 793-1965 (office)

(620) 793-1964 (FAX)

Garden City


(Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program)

P.O. Box 1092

Garden City, Kansas 67846

(620) 275-5911 (crisis)

(620) 275-2018 (office)

(620) 275-2761 (FAX)



(Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program)

P.O. Box 284

Hays, Kansas 67601

(785) 625-3055 (crisis)

(800) 794-4624 (crisis)

(785) 625-4202 (office)

(785) 625-1742 (FAX)



(For Native Americans Only)

(Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program)

116 N. 6th

Hiawatha, Kansas 66434

(785) 742-7593 (crisis/office)

(800) 209-0910 (crisis)

(785) 742-7569 (FAX)



(serving Barber, Harper, Kingman, McPherson, Reno, and Rice counties)

(Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program)

1 E. 9th

Hutchinson, Kansas 67501

(620) 663-2522 (crisis)

(800) 701-3630 (crisis - 620 area code only)

(620) 665-3630 (office)

(620) 665-3609 (FAX)


Safe House Inc.

P.O. Box 792

Coffeyville, Kansas 67337

(620) 331-7822 (crisis/office)

(888) 320-7218 (crisis)



(Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program)

P.O. Box 12

Iola, Kansas 66749

(800) 498-7566 (crisis)

(620) 365-7566 (crisis/office)

(620) 365-2016 (FAX)

Junction City


(serving Clay, Geary, Marshall, Pottawatomie, and Riley counties)

(Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program)

P.O. Box 1526

Manhattan, Kansas 66502

(785) 762-8835 (office)

(800) 727-2785 (crisis)

Kansas City


(Domestic Violence Program)

1219 N. 13th Street

Kansas City, Kansas 66102

(913) 321-0951 (crisis)

(913) 321-1566 (office)

(913) 321-1569 (FAX)



(Sexual Assault Program)

3217 Broadway, Suite 500

Kansas City, Missouri 64111

(816) 531-0233 (crisis)

(816) 931-4527 (office)

(816) 931-4532 (FAX)



(Sexual Assault Program)

2518 Ridge Ct., #211

Lawrence, Kansas 66046

(785) 841-2345 (crisis)

(785) 864-3506 (K.U. referral line)

(785) 843-8985 (office)

(785) 843-3728 (FAX)



(Domestic Violence Program)

P.O. Box 633

Lawrence, Kansas 66044

(785) 843-3333 (crisis/office)

(800) 770-3030 (crisis)

(785) 841-0627 (FAX)



(Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program)

P.O. Box 465

Leavenworth, Kansas 66048

(913) 682-9131 (crisis)

(888) 682-9131 (crisis)

(913) 682-1752 (office)

(913) 682-3066 (FAX)



(Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program)

909 N. Clay

Liberal, Kansas 67901

(620) 624-8818 (crisis/office)

(888) 417-7273 (crisis)

(620) 626-6041 (FAX)



(Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program)

117 West Ave. South

Lyons, Kansas 67554

(800) 701-3630 (crisis)

(620) 257-3272 (crisis)

(620) 257-3279 (FAX)



(Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program)

P.O. Box 1526

Manhattan, Kansas 66502

(785) 539-2785 (crisis)

(800) 727-2785 (crisis)

(785) 539-7935 (office)

(785) 539-8467 (FAX)



(serving Barber, Harper, Kingman, McPherson, Reno, and Rice counties)

(Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program)

306 N. Main

P.O. Box 341

McPherson, Kansas 67460

(800) 701-3630 (crisis)

(620) 241-6615 (office)

(620) 241-8708 (FAX)



(Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program)

P.O. Box 942

Newton, Kansas 67114

(800) 487-0510 (crisis)

(316) 284-6920 (office)

(316) 284-6856 (FAX)

Overland Park


(Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program)

P.O. Box 4563

Overland Park, Kansas 66204

(913) 262-2868 - (crisis)

(888) 432-4300 (crisis)

(913) 432-9300 (office)

(913) 432-9302 (FAX)



(Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program)

2809 N. Broadway, Bldg. 2, Suite 1

Pittsburg, Kansas 66762

(620) 231-8251 (crisis)

(800) 794-9148 (crisis)

(620) 231-8692 (office)

(620) 231-8693 (FAX)

(888) 320-7218 (crisis/Coffeyville)

(620) 251-3772 (Coffeyville satellite program)

(620) 331-7822 (Independence satellite program)



(Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program)

P.O. Box 1854

Salina, Kansas 67402

(785) 827-5862 (crisis/office)

(800) 874-1499 (crisis/office)

(785) 827-2410 (FAX)



(Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program)

P.O. Box 1883

Topeka, Kansas 66601

(785) 234-3300 (crisis)

(888) 822-2983 (crisis)

(785) 354-7927 (office)

(785) 233-4867 (FAX)



220 SW 33rd, Suite 100

Topeka, Kansas 66611

(785) 232-9784 (office)

(785) 232-9937 (FAX)



(Domestic Violence Program)

P.O. Box 563

Ulysses, Kansas 67880

(620) 356-2608 (crisis)

(620) 356-1049 (office)

(620) 356-1583 (FAX)



(Domestic Violence Program)

P.O. Box 3759

Wichita, Kansas 67201

(316) 263-6000 (crisis/office)

(316) 263-8347 (FAX)



(Domestic Violence Program)

504 E. 3rd St.

Wichita, Kansas 67202

(316) 265-1611 (office)

(316) 265-0738 (FAX)



(Sexual Assault Program)

355 N. Waco

Wichita, Kansas 67202

(316) 263-3002 (crisis)

(316) 263-0185 (office)

(316) 263-0563 (FAX)



(Domestic Violence Program)

P.O. Box 1740

Wichita, Kansas 67201

(316) 267-7233 (crisis)

(316) 263-2313 or (316) 263-7501 (office)

(316) 263-6350 or (316) 263-7503 (FAX)

Legal Assistance

Lawyer Referral Service of the Kansas Bar Association

(800) 928-3111

If you do not know a lawyer, you can call the Lawyer Referral Service. If you do not have the resources to hire an attorney, there are Kansas Legal Services offices that can help you. Check your yellow pages for the office nearest you or call the Lawyer Referral Service for the nearest location.

Kansas Victims' Rights Coordinator

Office of the Attorney General

120 W. 10th

Topeka, KS 66612

(800) 828-9745

(785) 291-3690

Lawyer Referral Service/Lawyer Advice Line

(800) 928-3111

Contact the KBA Lawyer Referral Service for the name and number of a lawyer with experience in a particular area.

This pamphlet is based on Kansas law and is published to provide general public information, not specific legal advice. The facts involved in a specific case determine the application of the law.