Relationship Violence: Reporting Options

Survivors of intimate partner violence have several avenues for redress, if they choose. The following provides a brief explanation of these options.

Criminal prosecution:

This involves making a report to the police or to the local magistrate in which the abuse took place. Criminal prosecution might result in imprisonment of the abuser, or perhaps mandatory attendance in a batterers' intervention program. It could also result in probation, depending on the circumstances and the judge who hears the case. Generally speaking, most abusive individuals will only attend batterers' intervention groups if the court forces them.

  • Protective Orders
  • A protective order is a legal document issued by a state court that orders one person to stop harming another, and can include phone calls, emails, approaching within a specified distance of the victim, contacting the victim's family or friends, and more.
  • The State of Alabama has several different types of orders and their availability is dependent on the type of abusive conduct and the relationship between the abuser and abused.
  • If an abuser violates a Protective Order, police are required by law to make an arrest. Protective orders can be useful tools, and may be worth the time and effort of securing them.
  • The process for making a criminal complaint or obtaining a protective order can be quite complicated and difficult. The University Police Department has a victim advocate who can assist students, faculty and staff with information about these processes and can accompany victims to court. Contact the University Police Department at 256.765.4357 and ask to speak with the victim advocate/Sexual Assault Investigator. The Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs can also provide assistance with these processes or make contact with University Police on behalf of University community members. Outside the University, both the City of Florence and the District Attorney have victim-witness advocates who can walk you through the process of obtaining a protective order or other type of no-contact order.

Civil Suit:

A civil suit is an action brought by a private attorney against the abuser and may be an option for collecting damages and recovering costs relating to moving, therapy, and so on, if the batterer has any financial resources at all. One doesn't have to sue for money, however. It is possible to sue to force the abuser to get therapy, to return certain items, and so on.

Click here for more information on Student Sexual Misconduct Complaints