Arkansas Domestic Violence Overview
Arkansas CodeTitle 9: Family Law: Chapter 15: Domestic Abuse: Subsection 103: Definitions.
"Domestic abuse" means:
(A) Ph ysical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or
assault between family or household members; or
(B) An y sexual conduct between family or household members, whether minors or adults, which constitutes
a crime under the laws of this s tate;
(3) "Family or household members" means spouses, former spouses, parents and children, persons related
by blood within the fourth degree of consanguinity, any children residing in the household, persons who
presently or in the past have resided or cohabited together, persons who have or have had a child in
common, and persons who are presently or in the past have been in a dating relationship together; and
(4)(A) "Dating relationship" means a romantic or intimate social relationship between two (2 ) individuals
which shall be determined by examining the following factors: (i) The length of the relationship; (ii) The type
of the relationship; and (iii) The frequency of interaction between the two (2) individuals involved in the
relationship. (B) "Dating relationship" shall not include a casual relationship or ordinary fraternization
between two (2) individuals in a business or social context.
What is an Order of Protection? What types are there?
An Order of Prot ection is a court order designed to keep your abuser away from you. There are
two types of orders:
Temporary Order of Protection
A Temporary "Ex-parte" Order of Protection is a court order designed to provide you and your
family members wit h immediate protection from your abuser. A judge may i ssue an ex parte order
on the day you file your petition for an Order of Protection if s/he believes that you are in
immediat e danger, or if your abuser is scheduled to be released from prison wit hin 30 days and
you will be in danger when he is releas ed. "Ex-part e" means that the order is issued without your
In order to get a permanent Order of Protection, you need to have a full court hearing with your
abuser present. A Temporary "Ex-parte" Order of Protection will protect you from the time you file
until your full court hearing takes place, usually within 30 days.
Permanent Order of Protection
A Permanent Order of P rotection is like a Temporary Order of Protection, but it lasts longer and
can be issued only after a court hearing takes place where you and your abuser both have the
opportunity to tell your own side of the story. A permanent order will last for at least 90 days and
at most 2 years. The order may be renewed after it expires if the court finds that the threat of
domestic abuse still exists.
Who can get an Order of Protection?
You can get an Order of Protection if your abuser is:
A spouse or former spouse
A parent or child
Any person relat ed to you by blood
Any child residing in the household
A person you have or have had a child in common with
A person you are living with, or have lived with
A person you have or have had a dating relationship (romantic or intimate) with
Note: "Dating relationship" does not include a casual relationship or ordinary time spent between
two individuals in a business or social context.
To read the exact legal terminology, please see the AR Legal Statutes page, Section 9-15-103.
Crime Victims Rights
The Arkansas Crime Victim Rights Law became effective on January 1, 1998. This law mandates
certain basic rights for people victimized by crime. The law does not apply to all crimes, but only
certain crimes and certain victims, including:
a victim who is a minor
a victim of a sex offense
a victim of any felony resulting in physical injury to the victim
a victim of any felony involving the use of a deadly weapon
a victim of terroristic threatening in the first degree
a victim of stalking
If the victim is a minor, incapacitated, or deceased, a member of the victim's family may exercise
the rights of the victim.
Victim Information - The Crime Victim Rights Law protects information about victims. A court
cannot compel a victim to give his or her address or place of employment in open court, exc ept
when the court decides it is essential to the case. Law enforcement agencies cannot disclose
information to the public about the identity of the victim of a sex crime except under limited
circumstances. The address and telephone number of the victim is also prot ected from releas e
under the Freedom of Information Act.
When property of the victim is seized and used as evidence, the agency holding the property
must take reasonable care of the property and promptly return it to the victim when it is no long er
needed as evidence.
Employers cannot discharge or discipline a victim of crime for assisting the prosecutor in
preparing the case or for attending court if it reasonably necessary to protect the victim's interest.
Information from Law Enforcement - Law enforcement agencies res ponding to crime incidents are
required to inform victims in writing of their rights under this law. Officers must inform victims of
the availability of servic es such as medical, housing, counseling, financial, social, legal, and
emergency services. In addition, officers must inform victims about how to obt ain orders of
protection, how to access public records related to the case, and about the Arkansas Crime
Victims Reparations Board (including the address and phone number).
As soon as it becomes practical, law enforcement officials must also inform the victim of the
suspect's identity and custody status (in custody, escaped, transferred, released and the
conditions of release, etc), unless this information compromises the investigat ion. Victims also
have the right to know the case file number, the investigating officer's name, office address, and
telephone number, and the pros ecuting attorney 's name, office address, and telephone number.
Pre-sentence Report - A pre-sentence report is a detailed account of a convicted defendant's
educational, criminal, family, and social background conducted as an aid to the court in
determining the sentence. The person preparing the pre-s entenc e report for the court shall make
a reasonable effort to confer with the victim.
Presence in Court - Victims of crime have the right to be present in court whenever the defendant
appears, other than at a grand jury proceeding. If the victim requests, the court shall also allow
the presence of a person to provide support for the victim in the court room. However, if the court
decides that the victim's presence or the presence of the support pers on may jeopardize the
defendant's right to a fair trial, the court can exclude either or both of them.
Information from Prosecuting Attorney - If requested by a victim, prosec uting attorneys are
responsible for notifying crime victims of critical events occurring in their cases. This notification
can be given orally, in writing, or automatically through the Arkansas VINE system. Victims are
responsible for giving the prosecut or's office their address and phone number, and for updating
this information if it changes.
Upon request of a victim or the victim's family, prosecutors are to notify victims of the following:
Information on relevant criminal justice procedures
Information about the crime with which the defendant has been charged
The file number of the case, the prosecuting attorney's name, and office address
and phone number
Motions or hearings to establish or reduce bail or authorize pre-t rial release from
Proceedings on plea agreements
Date, time, and place of defendant's trial
Motions that may substantially delay prosecution
Canc ellation of court proceedings
Pre-sentence report function and the defendant's access to the report
Victim impact statement information
Information on all sentencing proceedings
Notice of sentence imposed or modifications to that sentence
Reconsideration hearings of an imposed sentence
Date, time, and place of the defendant 's appearanc e be fore a judicial officer
Information from custody institutions
Prosecuting attorneys should confer with the victim of the crime before amending or dismissing a
charge or agreeing to a negotiat ed plea. However, failure of the prosecuting attorney to confer
with the victim does not affect the validity of an agreement.
Prosecuting Attorneys or Victim Assistance Coordinators should provide the following services to
Assistance in obtaining prot ection from harm and threats of harm arising out of
their cooperation with law enforcement and prosec ution efforts
Assistance in applying for financial aid and other social services
Assistance in applying for witness fees
When possible, a secure waiting area during court proceedings that does not
require victims to be in close proximity to the defendant and family and friends of
Involvement with the victims' employers to ensure that they cooperate wit h the
criminal justice proc ess in order to minimize loss of pay and other benefits
resulting from court appearances
Information Concerning Appeal - If the defendant appeals, or seeks post-conviction remedies, the
Attorney General should inform the victim of that fact, of the date, time, and place of any hearing,
and of the decision. These notifications may be accomplis hed through the Arkansas VINE
Information Concerning Confinement - In order to receive information from custody institutions,
victims must request that they be notified. The Crime Victim Rights Law requires the Arkansas
Department of Correction, the Arkansas State Hospital, and any other facility to which the
defendant is committed to notify victims of the following:
Estimated date of the defendant 's release
Date of Release of the defendant on furlough or to a work -release, half-way
house, or other community program at least 30 days in advance of the release
Recapture from escape
Decision of the Governor to commute the sent ence or to pardon the defendant
Release of defendant and any conditions attached to the release of t he
Deat h of the defendant during confinement
Information from the Parole Board - At least 30 days before a hearing, if requested by the victim,
the Board shall inform the victim of the hearing and of the victim's right to submit a Victim Impact
Statement. The Board shall also inform the victim of their decision concerning the defendant. The
law requires the Board to consider the Victim Impact Statement before determining whether to
release the defendant on parole.
The victim can choose to present the statement orally at the parole hearing or in writing. Because
defendants may become eligible for parole every year, under certain circumstances victims may
offer impact testimony via videotape. The Board is required by law to provide the defendant wit h
copies of the victim's written impact statement.
It is the responsibility of the victim, or his or her next of kin, to notify the Board of any change in
regard to the desire to be notified of any future parole hearings, or change in address or
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Victim Impact Statements
The Arkansas Crime Victim Rights Law guarantees the right for victims of crime to prepare and
present a Victim Impact Statement. The law also requires the c ourt to consider the victim's
statement. Impact statements are present ed in the sentencing phase of trials and in Parole Board
Victim Impact Statement forms may be provided for both adult and child victims, as well as for the
parents of child victims. Victims may wish to use them as an example for drafting their own, but
are in no way required to use these forms. If a parent chooses to allow their child to participate,
the impact statement allows the child to tell the court in his or her own words , or by drawing a
picture, how this crime has changed his or her life.
The Victim Impact Statement allows a victim to provide information on the following:
Emotional, psychological, physical, and financial impacts of the crime
Effect of the crime on his or her ability to work or do any of the things he or she
would normally do, such as going to work or school, running a household, or any
other activities he or she would normally perform
Circumstanc es surrounding the crime
Manner in which the crime was perpetrated
When describing the financial impact of the crime, it is important to be as clear, complete, and
accurate as possible. The prosecutor, the probation officer, and the judge will rely on the
information provided. Information regarding financial impact may prove useful in the judge's
decision to order payment of restitution. Restitution is the possibility of monetary payments made
by the defendant to the victim in order to compensate the victim for financial losses res ulting from
the crime. E ven if restitution is ordered, there is no guarantee the defendant will pay the entire
amount. Victims may also be eligible for financial assistance from the Crime Victims Reparations
Board. (See the Crime Victims Reparations Board section of this guide).
Oral statements may be presented with agreement of the prosecuting attorney. This statement
can be very useful to the judge in determining the proper sentenc e to impose. A victim may NOT,
however, include his or her opinion of the defendant, or of the sentence that should be imposed.
Submission of a Victim Impact Statement is voluntary.
A written Victim Impact Statement may be useful if a plea is taken and/or the victim is unable to
appear in court. The statement may also assist the prosecutor and victim witness coordinator in
the preparation of actual victim testimony for trial. Only evidence or argument concerning a
victim's personal characteristics or the impact of the crime on the victim's family and community
The Victim Impact Statement, once submitted, will become an official court document and part of
the permanent file. The defendant and the defendant's attorney have access to the victim's
statement. Victims' addresses and telephone numbers do NOT appear on these documents and
are protected from Freedom of Information Act requests.
Crime Victims Reparations Program
One of the most positive aspects of the program is that a portion of the funding comes from the
individuals who commit crimes. A major source of revenue for the program is the assessm ent of
court costs and fees, as well as the court-ordered restitution collected from criminals. The
program also rec eives money through the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA).
Victims can receive help with medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and dental expenses as well as
replacement costs, such as eyeglasses or dentures. Victims can also be compensated for costs
associated with crime scene clean -up, work loss, funeral expenses, and loss of support to
dependents of homicide victims. Mental health servic es are also available to victims of crime.
There are some expenses victims may incur that cannot be covered by the Crime Victim
Reparations Board, which include pain and suffering, property damage, or attorney's fees.
For crimes occurring on or after August 1, 1997, persons other than the direct victim may qualify
as secondary victims. Secondary victims include pers ons who are immediate family members
(including grandparents) of a deceased victim, victims of sexual assault, and child victims. In
addition, a child victim of any eligible victim is considered a secondary victim, as are persons who
are not immediate family members, but who resided (at the time of the crime) in the same
permanent household as a deceased crime victim. Secondary victims also include pers ons who
discover the body of a homicide victim.
Victims of crime must meet certain criteria to be eligible for compensation from the Board. The
victimization must have occurred in Arkansas on or after July 1, 1998. Claims must be filed within
one year of the incident, and the victimization must have been report ed to the proper authorities
within 72 hours of the incident. Crime victims under the age of 18 are excluded from this
requirement. These requirements may be waived upon a showing of good caus e.
Victims do not have to prove financial need in order to be eligible for compensation. To be eligible
for receiving assistance from the Crime Victim Reparations Board, a person must be either a
victim, a dependent of a victim, or a person authorized to act on behalf of a victim. The victim's
conduct must not have cont ribut ed to the victimization, nor could the victim have been involved in
illegal activity at the time of the incident. Victims must not have been incarcerated at the time of
the incident, nor have been convicted of a criminally injurious felony. The victim and the claimant
must also cooperate wit h the investigation and/or prosecution.
Furthermore, the victim's expenses must not have been covered by a collateral source, i.e.
medical insuranc e. Incidents involving a motor vehicle must have occurred intentionally or been in
violation of the Omnibus DW I Act. In addition, victims who are injured as a result of a hit and run
incident are eligible to receive compensation. There does not have to an arrest or conviction of
the assailant before compensation will be paid.
Victims do not need an attorney to file a claim. Assistance in filing a claim is available from the
Arkansas Crime Victims Reparations Program. The first step in filing a claim is to obtai n a claim
form from the nearest prosecuting attorney 's office, law enforc ement agency, hospital, or the
Arkansas Crime Victims Reparations Program. It is necessary for the claim form to be completed
in its entirety and accompanied by the following:
documentation verifying that the incident was reported to the proper aut horities
at least one itemized statement or invoice
The maximum limit of compensation is $10,000 per victim. For victims whose injuries are
catastrophic and res ult in a total and permanent disability, the maximum award limit is $25,000.
Medical expenses are paid at 65% of balance submitted, but if the provider accepts payment it is
agreeing to accept it as payment in full. Mental health expenses are paid up to $3,500 for
inpatient treatment and $3,500 for outpatient treatment. Funeral expenses are paid up to $7,500.
Sexual Assault Reimbursement Program
The Sexual Assault Program is designed to cover the expens es incurred when evidence is being
collected following a sexual assault. Unlike the Crime Victims Reparation Program, the medical
facility is responsible for submitting these expenses to the Sexual Assault Program for
reimbursement. This program does not decide whether the victim was in fact assaulted.
This program covers physician and emergency room fees, lab fees for testing for S TDs and HIV,
and preventative medication for S TDs and pregnancy. It also covers sedatives, tranquilizers, and
the cost of an ambulance. It will not cover treatment for physical injury, counseling, or follow-up
visits. These expenses may be submitted to the Crime Victims Reparations Board for
To be eligible, treatment must be rendered within 72 hours and the assault must be reported to
law enforcement. This requirement may be waived upon the showing of good cause. Treatment
cannot be for a pre-existing injury, physical injury, or any other condition.
The victim should not be billed directly for these services, nor should the victim's collateral
source, if they are covered by private insurance. If the victim is covered by a federally financed
benefits program, such as Medicaid, Medicare, Champus, or VA, that program should be billed
for these services.
Office of the Attorney General
Arkansas Crime Victims Reparations Program
323 Cent er Street, Suite 200
Little Rock, AR 72201
800-448-3014 or 501-682-1020
Power and Control Wheel
Safety during an explosive incident
Decide and plan where you will go if you have to leave home (even if
you don't think you will need to).
Practice how to get out of your home safely. Identify which doors,
windows, elevator or stairwell would be best.
Have a packed bag ready and keep it at a relative's or friend's home in
order to leave quickly. Use the checklist below to decide what is
important for you to take.
Identify one or more neighbors you can talk to about the violence and
ask them to call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your
Devise a code word to use with your children, family, friends and
neighbors when you need the police.
If you believe an argument/incident is going to occur, try to move to a
room or area where you have access to an exit. Stay away from any
weapons, the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom or other rooms without an
outside door or window.
Use your own instincts and judgment. If the situation is very dangerous,
do whatever is necessary to be safe. This may mean giving the abuser
what he wants to calm him down.
If necessary, call for help. Dial "0" or "911".
Always remember - You Do Not Deserve To Be Hit, Threatened, or
Live in Fear!
Safety when preparing to leave
Open a savings account and/or credit card in your own name to establish
or increase your independence. Think of other ways in which you can
increase your independence.
Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents, extra
medicines and clothes with someone you trust so you can leave quickly.
Determine who would be able to let you stay with them or lend you
Keep the shelter or hotline number close at hand and keep some change
or a calling card on you at all times for emergency phone calls.
Review your safety plan as often as possible in order to plan the safest
way to leave your batterer. Remember - Leaving Your Batterer Is A Very
Safety at home
Change the locks on your doors as soon as possible. Buy additional locks
and safety devices to secure your windows.
Discuss a safety plan with your children for when you are not with them.
Tell your children's school, day care, etc., who has your permission to
pick up the children.
Notify your neighbors and landlord that your partner no longer lives with
you and that they should call the police if they see him near your
Safety with a protection orde r
Keep your protection order on you at all times. Give a copy to a trusted
neighbor, family member or clergy person. Keep a copy in the glove
compartment of your car.
Call the police if your batterer violates the protection order.
Think of other ways to keep safe until law enforcement arrives.
Inform family, friends, neighbors, and a physician that you have a
Safety in public or at work
Tell your co-worker(s), boss and/or office or building security about
your situation. Provide a picture of your batterer if possible.
Arrange to have an answering machine, caller ID or co-worker screen
your telephone calls if possible.
Devise a safety plan for when you leave work. Have someone escort you
to your car or bus, and wait with you until you are safely on your way.
Use a variety of routes to go home if possible. Think about what you
would do if something happened while going home.
Go to different grocery stores, businesses, and banks if possible. If this is
not possible, change the time and day which you go shopping.
Checklist - Important things to ta ke with you when you leave
Children's Birth Certificates
Your Birth Certificate
Social Security Cards
Money and/or credit cards
Public Assistance documentation
Tax return from previous year
Pay stubs for you
Other Important Papers
Your Protection Order
Lease, rental agreement or house deed
Car registration and insurance papers
Health and life insurance papers
Medical records for you and children
House and car keys
Pictures of you, your children and your abuser
Change of clothes for you and your children
Important phone numbers
(Numbers will vary depending on your location)
The closest domestic violence/sexual assault program: __________
Police: 911 or __________
Victim -Witness Unit: __________
Prosecuting Attorney: __________
Clerk or District Court: __________
Probation Department: __________
Private Attorney: __________
As many as 4 million women are assaulted by spouses or partners each year,
and 1,200 are killed.
There are no typical characteristics or profiles of abusers or victims.
Abusers may appear very charming or may seem like explosive or angry
individuals. Victims may seem extremely frightened or passive or may be
quite angry about what is happening. Rather than determining whether
someone fits a "type," determine whether the warning signs of abuse
If some one declines to discuss domestic violence issues, consider
whether the silence may be due to a fear of the batterer, or to cultural,
race or gender issues which make it difficult to talk about such personal
experiences. If you suspect that some one is a victim of domestic
violence, say the following:
o I am concerned about your safety.
o You can talk to me about what is happening at home.
o Domestic violence harms your children.
o Domestic violence is a crime.
o Serenity is a place where you can be safe and get help.
Basic Warning Signs
Batterers use dominating, intimidating, terrifying, rule -making, stalking, harassing and
injurious behaviors to control and manipulate the actions of their part ners and sometimes
The most obvious signs of domestic violence will be evidenc e of severe, rec urring, or life -
threat ening abuse, for example, repeat ed bruises, broken bones, physical attacks, or
threats with weapons.
Domestic violence is not just severe physical violence. It includes slaps, pushes, shoves,
threats, emotional and financial abuse, false imprisonment, and any other behavior that
batterers use to control and coerce victims. If one part ner or spouse frequently makes the
other ask permission to do things, domestic violence may be occurring.
Emotional abuse, where one partner continuously degrades or belittles the other, or
accuses the other of being stupid, unattractive, a bad parent, unfaithful, or any other
similar fault, can indicate domestic violence.
Many batterers use the legal system to punish their partners for taking steps to free
themselves from domestic violenc e. Extremely litigious behavior following a separation
may be a sign of domestic violence.
Batterers use issues arising in custody and visitation cases to try to re-establish control
over their victims. For example, a batterer may fail to show up for scheduled visitation on
time in order to harass the victim or create a reason for further cont act.
Batterers frequently display extreme jealousy. The following cont rolling actions may
signal that domestic violenc e is occurring:
o Batterers often discourage their victims from seeking help. People who have
difficulty making or keeping appointments may be trying to avoid letting their
abusers know that they are seeking help.
o Batterers frequently insist on accompanying victims to appointments, even if they
have no involvement in the case. During office visits or phone calls, a batterer
may try to speak for the victim, in order to control the information the victim
shares with you.
o Batterers harass, stalk, and keep tabs on their victims. If someone reports
constant phone calls at work or home to keep track of their whereabouts,
consider whether other warning signs of domestic violenc e are present.
o Batterers try to isolate their victims from emotional support systems or sources of
help. Be sensitive to persons who report that their partners do not allow them to
see relatives, friends, or neighbors. Also, be alert for pers ons who tell you that
their partners are excessively jealous of persons they see outside of the home
and mak e statements such as "if I can't have you, nobody can."
o Batterers also isolat e their victims by sabotaging their ability to get and keep
jobs. Clients who keep changing or losing jobs or "cannot" work because of their
partners' disapproval or actions may be suffering from domestic violence.