Legal Advocacy

 

SAFE Homes-Rape Crisis Coalition assists victims of domestic violence in Spartanburg, Cherokee, and Union County. Our advocates can assist in filing Order of Protection petitions in Family Court, free of charge. They can also attend criminal and general sessions court with clients, and provide guidance and referrals for other services as needed.

Please contact our main office to be referred to the correct county if you are needing assistance or for more information @ 864-583-9803. Office locations can be found below.

Who can file for an Order of Protection?

South Carolina law says that you can file for an Order of Protection if you have been a victim of abuse.   “Abuse,” under this law, means either:

1. physical harm, 2. bodily injury,  3. assault or the threat of physical harm,  or 4. a sexual criminal offense committed by a family or household member.

To file for an Order of Protection in family court, the person who caused the abuse has to be related to you in one of these ways:

2. your spouse or former spouse,

3. person’s who have a child in common; adopted or biological

4. a person of the opposite sex with whom you live or used to live with.

If you don’t fit in one of these categories and have experienced some kind of abuse, you may need to file for a restraining order in magistrate’s court.

Where can I file?

Spartanburg County Residents: M-F/8:30am-4:00pm @ Spartanburg County Courthouse/3rd Floor

Cherokee County Residents: M-F/8:30am-4:00pm @ 405 North Logan Street, Gaffney, SC

Union County Residents: M-F/8:00am-3:30pm @ 115 Thomas Street, Union, SC

What can an Order of Protection give you?

The Order, if granted by the Judge, can give you the following relief on a temporary basis (6 months to 1 year):

1. Restrain the abuser from abusing you, threatening to abuse you or bothering you in any way.

2. Restrain the abuser from contacting you or communicating with you, coming to your home, work, school or other place that the judge writes in the order.

3. Grant you custody of any children you have with the abuser.

4. Grant visitation with the children: either giving reasonable visitation or denying visitation.

5. Require the abuser to pay child support for any children you have together.

6. Grant you possession of the home you live or lived in.

7. Restrain the abuser or both of you from transferring or destroying any property that [3] ight belong to the other person or that may be marital property.

8. Allow you or the other person to get their personal property and restrict either or both people from destroying personal property. The order can also include that either person will have police assistance in getting their personal property.

9. Grant you any other relief that you have asked for in your petition ‐ e.g. possession of a specific car, a pet, or any other specific requests you have that aren’t included in the list above.

This list includes things that are possible. The judge is in control of what relief is actually given. This means that you may or may not be given all the relief you’ve asked for.

When should you file your Petition?

The sooner you file your Petition, the better. You should file the Petition for Order of Protection as soon as possible after the abuse has happened; if you feel you need the protection. Some judges may tell you that if you wait to file for an Order of Protection, you are not in fear of the abuser or do not need the protection. The sooner you file your Petition after something has happened, the sooner you will have your hearing and may be issued an Order of Protection.

Please refer to South Carolina Legal Services Order of Protection Manual for more information.

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