I want to call the police. What do I do?

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, tell them what happened, whether you were injured, if the abuser used weapons, and if the incident was a violation of an existing 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 day. Be sure to get the officers’ names and badge numbers.

Ask the police to arrest the abuser. The police usually do not have to witness the 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 has to be some evidence that the abuser violated that order, but usually 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 by 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.

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

Ask the police for an emergency protective order if you do not already have a restraining order. Many, but not all, states have restraining orders that are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These orders, sometimes called emergency protective orders, last for a few days – enough time for you to go to court to apply for a longer restraining order.

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, and can give you information about shelters and other support services.

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