No one deserves to be abused. No one deserves to be called degrading names, be intimidated, pushed, shoved, slapped, punched, kicked, strangled, have things thrown at them or have hair pulled, or be forced to do something that makes them feel unsafe. Such actions, and many similar actions, are abusive. If you or someone you know has been subjected to such actions, and the perpetrator is a significant other/intimate partner, spouse, or family member, then domestic abuse is occurring.
In many cases, the abuse can escalate to the level of a crime. Police in Oregon have certain responsibilities when notified of domestic abuse. This is called a "mandatory arrest" law. The law mandates that police investigate allegations of domestic abuse when it comes to their attention. If the behaviors or actions rise to the level of a domestic violence crime as defined by Oregon law, the officer must attempt to determine who the primary aggressor in the incident is, and arrest that person. Certain criminal charges fall under this mandatory arrest law. In these cases, the victim of the crime does not have the right to drop or press charges, as the state of Oregon makes this decision. The District Attorney’s office for the county in which the crime occurs will make the decision on if charges will be filed and a criminal case will begin in the court system.
HOW TO GET HELP
If you have questions regarding abuse that is occurring in your relationship or that of a friend or family member, please call the District Attorney’s office or contact a victim advocate for more information. Please do not hesitate to call local resources for help - it could be the most important call you make for you and your family. If you would like to make a report of domestic abuse, contact the law enforcement agency where the crime occurred. For phone numbers to these various community resources, see the link to the right.
HAVE A SAFETY PLAN
To learn more about the importance of having a safety plan in place, see the link to the right.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESPONSE TEAM
The Salem Police Department has a very active Domestic Violence Response Team (DVRT) that is designed to provide 24-hour on-scene crisis intervention response to victims of domestic/sexual violence and stalking in Salem. DVRT is the first program of its kind implemented in the State of Oregon to immediately serve domestic violence victims on-scene.
The victim advocate program began in 1997 with the hiring of one victim advocate. Since then, the team has grown to consist of one paid victim advocate, and 20+ highly trained volunteer advocates from the community. The team also consists of 15+ Domestic Violence Officers. The DV Officers are given highly specialized training pertaining to domestic violence investigations and the dynamics of domestic abuse.
Victim Advocates can help with:
· Devising a safety plan catered to your specific situation;
· Provide information on protective orders;
· Provide information on the criminal justice system and offender arrest procedures if applicable;
· Explain Oregon law in relation to domestic abuse;
· Provide information on the crime of domestic abuse and stalking;
· Provide emotional support and encouragement;
· Put you in touch with assisting agencies that provide needed resources; and
· Provide information and answer questions pertaining to victims of other types of crime.
The goal of DVRT is to increase victim safety and raise offender accountability through the work of our victim advocates and officers on the team. The ultimate goal is to reduce repeat domestic abuse incidents within the same household. (Please note that you do not necessarily have to file a police report in order to speak to a victim advocate. Victim advocates working at Salem Police are not law enforcement officers).
DONATE USED CELL PHONES
The Salem Police Department collects donations of cell phones no longer wanted or needed and provides them free of charge to victims of domestic violence. See the link to the right to learn more about the program and how you can help.