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Domestic Violence

SAFETY ALERT:  People can easily monitor how other people use their computers. If you are afraid others are checking your Internet or computer usage, please use another computer, call your local domestic violence hotline, or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline toll-free, 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Millions of people are harmed in some way each year because of domestic violence. Domestic violence cuts across lines of race, nationality, language, culture, economics, sexual orientation, physical ability, and religion to affect people from all walks of life.

LAWO's domestic violence work helps individuals who are trying to escape an abusive relationship. Typically, these are cases with a long history of physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse, involving difficult issues of child custody and visitation.

>> More information below the story

Legal Aid protected
Sarai's* family.

Although Sarai is from Antigua, she met and married her United States citizen spouse in St. Thomas. She came with him to the U.S. with her three children, believing his promise that she would soon have legal status. Shortly after arriving in the U.S. however, her husband became physically and emotionally abusive to Sarai and her children and he refused to file any immigration paperwork on her behalf.  With the help of a legal aid attorney, a self-petition under the protections of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was filed on her behalf with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS).

These VAWA self-petitions are one of the only avenues by which an undocumented person can petition for an immigration benefit, in this case Lawful Permanent Residence, on their own behalf. Nearly one year after the self-petition was filed, it was approved and Sarai and her children are now on the road to becoming Lawful Permanent Residents.

(*not her real name)


Family Justice Center of Northwest Ohio

Partner agencies have worked with LAWO to establish the Family Justice Center of Northwest Ohio (FJCNWO) within a six-county service area of Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Putnam, Van Wert, and Williams counties. The Family Justice Center provides comprehensive and coordinated services to individuals and families experiencing domestic violence.

Visit the FJCNWO Web site for their contact information and to download their brochure:

Family Justice Center

Ohio law defines domestic violence as:


Physical harm, bodily injury, assault, including sexual assault, stalking, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, between family or household members.


Once you are out of immediate danger, your legal aid attorney will assist with the necessary next steps to keep you and your family from harm. LAWO attorneys and advocates work with local agencies and community organizations on domestic violence task forces that serve to educate, protect and represent domestic violence victims. Our domestic violence work places emphasis on the enforcement of law to protect victims and demonstrates that violent behavior in the home will not be tolerated.

There are a number of ways that you can get the legal help and support you need to end domestic violence in your life. If you or your children are the victims of domestic violence, our experienced attorneys can provide representation to obtain a Civil Protection Order (CPO).

What a Civil Protection Order (CPO) can do for you:

  • Order the abuser to stay away from you, your home, and other places.
  • Order the abuser not to hit, follow, phone or have any contact with you, or your family members.
  • Order the abuser to move out of your home.
  • Temporarily order child custody, visitation and support.
  • Order restitution of any medical bills, lost wages or property that was destroyed as a result of the violence.


Protective Orders: A Guide for Victims of Stalking and Sexual Abuse (PDF)

A Civil Stalking or Sexually Oriented Offense Protection Order is a tool that can help stop or prevent stalking or sexually oriented offenses.

Protective Orders

Órdenes de Protección Civil: Protección en contra de Violencia Doméstica (PDF)

Tiene un esposo, ex esposo o algun miembro de su familia que lo…

¿Amenaza o lo lastima?
¿Acecha o lo intimida?
¿Amenaza o lastima a sus hijos?

Usted puede necesitar una Orden de Protección Civil (CPO).

Órdenes de Protección Civil