Once a protective order is in effect against the abuser, it is a crime for the abuser to violate the order. If the abuser knowingly violates a protective order in any way, it is a class A misdemeanor crime. You should report any violations to the police. The police will decide whether to arrest and prosecute him/her. Regardless of what the police do, if you feel there is a violation of the order, you can also take the abuser back to court by filing a motion for contempt of the order. A contempt hearing must be held within 14 days. If the abuser is found in contempt, he/she may be fined or put in jail.
Emergency Shelter, Assistance and Safety
It is very important to plan for your safety. If you need to remove yourself and your children from danger, help is available. There are domestic violence programs located throughout New Hampshire that provide shelter, safety planning, and support for abused persons and their families. To get in touch with these groups you can call 1-866-644-3574 for domestic violence and stalking, or 1-800-277-5570 for sexual assault, 24 hours a day. This is a confidential, free call.
These programs are there to help you even if you have decided to remain in your relationship with your abusive partner. They have advocates trained to:
- Aid you with shelter.
- Provide counseling and safety planning.
- Explain legal procedures to you, and
- Accompany you to court, the hospital, or to get public assistance.
Please note that these advocates are not lawyers. In certain circumstances they may be able to refer you to a lawyer through the Domestic Violence Emergency (DOVE) Project of the New Hampshire Bar Association or the Domestic Violence Advocacy Project of New Hampshire Legal Assistance. DOVE and NHLA provide free legal representation to low-income individuals at final domestic violence hearings.
If English is your second language or you don’t speak any English, you have a right to request an interpreter to assist you with the police and in any court proceedings. Make sure to let the police and/or the court know that you need an interpreter to help you.