It is not unusual for a rape survivor to temporarily lose a sense of personal safety when out of the house. Becoming familiar with self-protection strategies and being alert can help you regain a feeling of safety outside the home. Fear is a very normal, natural, and common reaction to a sexual assault. Many survivors look for immediate solutions, like the suggestions that follow. Sometimes reading these suggestions can create a sense of guilt. You may think you could have prevented the assault. Remember, the responsibility for a sexual assault lies with the perpetrator.
Texas Law Help Question & Answer Bank
An Emergency Protective Order (EPO) is a criminally enforceable court order that can be issued to the abuser following an arrest on a family violence offense. The victim is not required to be present in court when the order is issued and there is no separate application process required of the victim.
The length of time the EPO lasts will vary depending on the circumstances. The magistrate may issue the order for a minimum of 31 days and a maximum of 91 days. When a deadly weapon has been displayed, the order must be issued for a minimum of 61 days.
An emergency protective order (EPO) is available only at the time of an arrest for a crime involving family violence or sexual assault. It is temporary and emergency in nature, and cannot be extended.
The EPO can be requested in the following ways:
- By the victim of the alleged family violence offense;
- By a guardian of the victim;
- By an attorney representing the state and
- By a peace officer.
The court may also issue the order on its own motion and, in certain circumstances, the order will be mandated by law.
To learn about other types of Protective Orders, please contact the Family Violence Legal Line at 800-374-4673.
- Committing family violence or an act in furtherance of an offense under 42.07(a)(7) of the Texas Penal Code (stalking)
- Communicating directly with the victim or with a member of the victim’s family or household in a threatening or harassing manner; and/or communicating a threat through any other person to the victim or member of the victim’s family/household.
- Going within a minimum distance (usually 200 yards) of the victim’s or member of the victim’s family’s:
- Place of Employment
- Child care facility and/or School and Residence if different than above.
In general, no. The early lease termination law only helps avoid the penalty for breaking a lease early. Other amounts owed to the landlord (like past-due rent, damage done to the rental unit, or deductions from the security deposit) are not affected.
A tenant must do two things to avoid an early termination penalty. First, the tenant must give the landlord 30 days’ notice before moving out. Second, that notice must be accompanied by acceptable documentation of the sexual assault, attempted sexual assault or stalking. Continue reading below for more information about these requirements.
- You can start by contacting your local county and district attorney’s office. They may apply on your behalf.
- Note: You may also contact the county or district attorney’s offices in the county in which the respondent lives or where the assault occurred. You are eligible to apply for a protective order in any one of these counties.
- You can also contact free legal aid organizations listed in our Legal Help directory they can apply for you as well.
- You can hire a private attorney to apply for a sexual assault protective order for you.
- You can also apply for a sexual assault protective order on your own with the forms included in this packet (this is called applying “pro se”).
- Yes. You can request that your home, work, school and daycare addresses and phone numbers be kept confidential. However, your county of residence will be disclosed through the application process.
- To make your information confidential, you should file a document called “Confidential Information Not to be Disclosed” and list the information you want kept confidential. This document is included in the Sexual Assault Protective Order Kit.
By law, you cannot be charged any court fees associated with applying for a protective order. This includes filing fees and court costs.
Note: If you hire a private attorney to represent you in a protective order application, you will have to pay that attorney their attorney’s fees.
The protective order is a civil lawsuit and criminal charges are separate, criminal court actions. Each case has different requirements and one does not affect the other, except that if a record is made in the protective order hearing, the criminal court can introduceyour previous sworn testimony into evidence.
For this reason, it is important to contact an attorney before filing a protective order. It is also important to review your statements before court and make sure you are consistent with each one. Court can be stressful, especially is your abuser is present. The more you review your statement before court, the better prepared you will be.
Also note, it is OK to say you don’t remember something if you really don’t remember it. Attorneys in court may ask you for many details that you cannot remember. It is better to say you don’t remember than to try and guess.
- It is best to keep a copy of the order with you at all times
- It is best that you bring a copy of the order to law enforcement in Texas so they can enter it into the state database.
- The terms of an out of state order are enforceable even if they are not exactly the conditions you would have gotten in Texas.
- Whether you have your order with you or have registered it with law enforcement or not: the order is still fully enforceable.
Under Texas law, it is sexual assault if anyone, male or female, made you have sex by using force or threatening to hurt you or someone close to you. Specifically, this can mean:
- Someone put their penis, finger or other object in your vagina or anus by using force or harm;
- Someone put their penis in your mouth by using force or threat of harm;
- Someone put your penis or vagina in contact with the mouth, anus, penis or vagina of any other person, by using force or threat of harm.
It is also sexual assault if anyone ever made you do any of these things while you were unconscious, drunk or otherwise incapacitated.
Furthermore, it is sexual assault if any adult (a person older than 18) had sexual contact with you when you were under the age of 17.