1. Criminal warrant...If you have not obtained a warrant for your spouse or significant other, you may wish to consider this action. Assault by anyone is a crime!
2. Custody...Until such time as a court decides who has custody of the children, both parents have equal rights to them. If your spouse has the children, no one can help you get them unless you have a court order saying you have custody. Petitions for a hearing can be flied with the Franklin County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Services Unit. You may also wish to consider filing petitions asking that your spouse be removed from the home in order that you and the children can remain or return there to live. You also have the right to seek support for yourself and the children and can discuss that matter with the Intake Officer as well.
3. Legal representation...You may wish to consider hiring an attorney to represent you in court, particularly if you believe your spouse will have an attorney available. Legal Aid is available to those who are eligible. If you are not eligible, there are good private attorneys who will be sympathetic of your cause.
The law requires children who are of school age, be enrolled in school and attend regularly. You will need to see that your children are enrolled in our local schools and arrange for them to ride the appropriate bus. If they do not normally attend the Rocky Mount schools and you intend to seek your spouse's removal from your home, you may not need to transfer the children if your arrangements are made quickly. However, you may need to notify the child's principal of your difficulty and explain why the child may be out of school for a few days. Until matters of custody are settled you can notify the schools the children are not to be taken from school by others.
If you do not have a car of your own, the shelter volunteers or a Staff member may be able to help. Social Services can offer limited transportation for specific needs. However, you must realize there are limits to what others can do for you and be looking for other ways of getting around, If you have a friend who might transport you, you may wish to contact them. However, to keep your location safe, you may wish to meet them somewhere away from the shelter.
Clothing and Other Items
You do have the right to go back to the home to get items you may need but left behind in your hurry to get out. You may wish to take a friend with you. The Sheriffs Department and other agencies do not have the right to do this for you and do not have staff to go with you. Some items you may need besides clothing are: Marriage certificate, Birth certificates, your bank account books, social security cards, bank statements, insurance policies and something to prove residence in the County such as a utility bill.
If you have no job or no other source of income, (child support, social security, SSI) you can apply for TANF for the children, at the Department of Social Services. You must call and schedule an appointment. If you have a job, you need to take steps to keep it. Family and friends may be able to help with childcare or transportation. If you need to find a baby-sitter you will have access to the local newspaper and a list of certified daycare providers in the area.
If you choose not to seek removal of your spouse or significant other from the home, you should seek housing immediately. Applications take time to process. Candlewood, Mountain View and South Garden Apartments are low income, subsidized apartments. Other apartment resources can be sought through the Franklin News Post and realtors.
Emotional Support System
You may find yourself overwhelmed during this difficult time. There are agencies and people interested in helping. You may consider counseling to help you work through your many feelings. You may simply need someone to listen to you for a while. You may need information on other resources available to you. These local places to call are listed in the Community Resource Directory in our office or in a handout we will be happy to give you at your request. If you have local family and friends who are supportive, you may want to keep contact open with them. They can be very comforting and understanding. You have many difficult decisions to make. While others can listen to you and let you know your options, the decision for your future plans rests with you. No one else can make these decisions for you. All we can do is supply you with information you need to make a knowledgeable decision. You, better than anyone, know what is best for yourself and your children. You know what you want for your future and theirs.
The Role of the Family Resource Center
The Family Resource Center has been developed to provide an aray of services to victims and their children. One of these services is a temporary, safe refuge or sanctuary for those individuals and families that are residence of Franklin County who have been victims of domestic violence. The Family Resource Center allows the victim to reside in a clean, private emergency DV shelter for 30 days maximum stay while they plan other arrangements required to secure a more permanent home or safe and healthy living situation. One or more staff members will be in the offices 24 hours a day/7 days a week. If for some reason, you are unable to reach a staff member by calling the offices at 483-5088, one may be reached by calling our Domestic Violence Hotline at 483-1234.