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A guide to Mississippi courts and legal system
for victims of family violence
Your home should be a place where you can be safe and happy. You deserve that. But that safety and happiness can be endangered by violence within the home, by acts which cause you pain and deep fear, that even threaten your life.
When you are terrorized by a violent person in your home, when you or your children are beaten, threatened with brutality, abused physically or sexually, you may feel that there is nothing you can do and nowhere you can go for protection. This guide to Mississippi's legal system will show you that help is available.
Produced for you by the Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence, this document was written to show you that the law can and should work for you, not for the person who is abusing you. Laws to protect you against domestic violence -- both state and federal laws -- are stronger today than ever before, but in order to gain that protection, you need to know what the law says and means.
This guide is written is layman's language, not legalese. It is meant to give you a plain and easy road map to the court system and the laws which were passed to protect you against family violence.
Section One - How the Laws can Protect You
In the first, we will go through the criminal laws that apply to violence in the family and how those laws should be enforced to give you protection from further abuse and allow you to take control of your life. These laws were passed to make sure that persons who cause injury and damage by violence are punished for their crimes.
Section Two - Protective Order and Other Civil Laws for Your Protection
The second section deals with the civil laws by which courts grant protective orders to help you avoid any further violence to you or your children. We will go through the process of obtaining protective orders and answer your question on what to do if these orders are violated.
Section Three - Police Response to Calls for Assistance in Domestic Violence Situations
The third section walks you through the process when law enforcement officers are called to your home or to any other place where you have been abused by a family member. We will go through the steps that the law requires officers to take at the time of the initial response, including the arrest procedures. We will then address the policies and practices of the courts, including what your rights are within the system and how you can assure that your voice is heard and considered by the judge in any decision which affects you and your family.
Section Four - Frequently Asked Questions
The fourth section contains the questions most asked of the directors of the domestic violence shelters across the state and answers to those questions.
Section Five - Table Of Statutes
This section contains a table of State Statutes.
We want you to know that you are not alone. Hundreds of victims of domestic violence have been - and are being - helped to get out of abusive situations and to make better lives for themselves and their children.