Advocates are available to accompany victims of domestic and sexual violence, and intimate partner stalking to the family/district court. We may also refer victims to legal resources and help them navigate the court system. The Belknap County Family Court calls to request a New Beginnings advocate present at court whenever a person asks for restraining order paper-work; however, as a victim it is ultimately your decision what services you receive from New Beginnings.
At Court, Advocates may:
- Assist with completing a petition for a domestic violence or stalking protective order.
- Answer questions regarding the process of getting a protective order.
- Talk through options given your situation.
- Support you in articulating the written testimony on the paperwork about the abuse that has occurred.
- Explain the potential outcomes of submitting a petition for protection.
- Explain what it means to have a restraining/protective order.
- Help you plan for your safety.
- Assist in finding representation by an attorney for the final restraining order hearing.
- Help victim/survivors prepare to testify at a protective order final hearing.
- Explain what to expect at a final hearing.
- Help organize the information (police reports, hospital records, text messages, photos, e-mails, voicemails, letters, witnesses, etc.) you may want to present at a final restraining order hearing.
- Help prepare you for testimony (talk it over, make bulleted list, etc.); while we can’t tell you what to say we can help you organize your thoughts.
- Accompany clients to final restraining order hearings.
- Offer On-going Services/Support:
- Support Groups (all-ages)
- 24-hour Crisis Line
- 24-hr Accompaniment (Police Station & Hospital)
- 1-to-1 Peer Support
- Systems’ Advocacy
- Victim’s Compensation Information & Applications
Reminder: One-to-one conversations and meetings between a New Beginnings advocate and a victim/survivor are protected by confidentiality and won’t be shared (including to confirm or deny use of services) with immigration authorities, medical personnel, law enforcement, or any other third party without explicit written consent (except in cases involving the suspected abuse/neglect of a child, elder or incapacitated adult, or when it is determined someone is a threat to themselves/others).
The court may grant a Domestic Violence Protective Order when a petition is filed in family court alleging abuse as defined by RSA 173:B by a household member, or current/former intimate partner that presents a credible and present threat to the petitioner’s safety.
Similar protection is available through a Stalking Protective Order filed in the district court when a petitioner demonstrates someone (no prior relationship necessary) has “purposefully, knowingly, or recklessly engaged in a course of conduct (defined by RSA633:3), targeted at the petitioner/their family that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their personal safety.
This order may prevent your current or ex-partner from:
Threatening or abusing you
Contacting you (through phone calls, text messages, e-mail, mail, or third parties)
Coming near you, your family, or members of your household (not within a certain distance set by the judge); this could include them being required to leave anywhere you both end up incidentally.
Coming to your school, home or work
- Destroying, damaging, converting or selling your personal property
Possessing a gun/lethal weapons
You may also request that the court:
- Require them to move out of your shared home
- Grant you temporary sole custody of children; or ordering them to follow a court ordered visitation plan.
- Give you use of shared personal property (vehicle, cell phone, etc.)
- Require them to pay you child support
- Require their participation in counseling or a batterer’s intervention program
- Require them to pay your attorney’s fees or pay for other harm you suffered
Violation of the protective orders (including the commission of any of the crimes of domestic violence), after they have been served the paperwork, by the abuser, is a criminal offense. If you report this violation or it is witnessed by law enforcement, they are required to arrest your partner, and in New Hampshire may do so within 12-hours without an arrest warrant.
During hours the court is closed, police departments may be able to put into place an emergency order of protection valid through the next court day.
For a more in-depth description of the process, refer to Getting a Protective Order, or call the office to speak with a court advocate. (603) 528.6511
Here you will find the New Hampshire Circuit Court-District Division Domestic Violence Case Protocols.
Womenslaw.org provides helpful legal information, including a glossary of general legal terms.