Break the Cycle – Calling The Police

What Should I Do when Someone Has Injured Me or Has Violated a Restraining Order?

Go to a safe place. Go to the home of a neighbor, relative or friend you trust;
call a domestic violence hotline or shelter.

Call the police at 911 (emergency) or at the local number listed in the phone
book (non-emergency).
Tell them you are in danger and you need help immediately.
If the police do not come soon, call again and tell them that it is your second
call. Write down the time and date of your call(s).

When the police arrive, get their names and badge numbers. Tell them about your
injuries, how you were injured, whether the abuser used weapons, and whether the
abuser violated a restraining order. If a restraining order was violated, show
the police the order and the proof of service. If you do not have a copy of the
order, ask the officers to look it up in their computer system. Ask the police to
take pictures of any visible injuries. Insist that they file an incident report
and give you a report number. If they refuse to take an incident report, go to
your local police department and file one yourself that day or the next business

Ask the police to arrest the abuser. The police do not have to actually witness
abuse in order to arrest the abuser as long as they can see physical signs of the
abuse. If you have a restraining order, there must be some evidence that the
abuser violated that order, but there does not have to be physical evidence of
abuse. If the abuser is there and the police refuse to make an arrest, tell them
you want to make a citizen’s arrest. If you do make a citizen’s arrest, go to
your local police station to sign a statement on the next business day. Even if
the police make an arrest and take the abuser into custody, be aware that the
abuser could be released within a few hours. Use that time to get to a safe place
and ask that a condition of that release be that the abuser not come near you.

Ask the police for an Emergency Protective Order (EPO) if you do not already have
a restraining order.
An EPO is a restraining order that lasts five to seven days
– enough time for you to go to court to apply for a longer restraining
order. An EPO may also grant you temporary custody of any children you have with
the abuser.

On the next business day, call the detective or investigative bureau of your
local police department.
Give them your incident report number and get the name
and phone number of the detective or investigator who has been assigned to your
case. Call that person to schedule an appointment to review the case.

Ask for additional assistance. The police can help you get medical treatment if
you need it, give you information about shelters and other support services, and
temporarily take firearms away from the abuser.

If you feel the police officers did not give you adequate assistance, get their
names and/or badge numbers and call your police department’s watch

Call Break the Cycle as soon as possible if there has been a violation of your
restraining order or to make an appointment to get a restraining order.

The information above describes the law in California. Most states offer similar
protections, but it is important that you check the law in your state to see what
legal remedies and process are available to you.