Delaware

Delaware- Protection From Abuse Orders

Criminal and Civil Options

Victims of domestic violence seeking remedies through the criminal justice system may use one or both of two available legal options:

Criminal Action

A victim may report the abuse or incident to the police. Under Delaware Law many acts of domestic violence constitute a crime. Such acts include threats to harm, harassment, and physical or sexual assault.

Civil Action

Protection From Abuse Orders (PFAs) are civil orders issued by the Family Court of Delaware. The PFA allows a victim to obtain a court order against an abusive partner. It does not require police intervention but rather is an action between parties involved in a family relationship as defined in the Delaware Code.

  • The parties to a PFA are the petitioner (one who files the PFA) and the respondent (who is named as the abuser in the PFA).
  • The PFA is a temporary order that is generally in effect for one year and can be extended for an additional six months following another hearing. Depending upon the case, the no contact and no abuse provisions can last up to two years or permanently.
  • The parties may be married, dating, living together or not, with children in common or not, same sex or heterosexual.
  • PFAs can also be granted on behalf of minor child and disabled adults.
  • A PFA issued in Delaware is enforceable throughout the Country.

A judge may order any or all of the following to be included within the Protection From Abuse order

  • Prohibit contact of the respondent with the applicant
  • Temporarily assign use of property including house, vehicles, and checkbooks
  • Grant custody of children
  • Relinquish any firearms
  • Counseling or treatment

A respondent who violates the PFA can be arrested without a warrant. Although the PFA order is not a guarantee of safety, it is an important remedy for victims of domestic violence as they plan for their safety and that of their children. Read more about PFAs in the Delaware Family Court View the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council’s PFA Information Sheet View DCADV’s Fact Sheet about PFAs and the Delaware code: What You Must Prove, What You Can Obtain

Local programs

View the contact information for legal assistance, court advocacy programs, police-based victim assistance, and government agencies

Legal Resources

Information from www.womenslaw.org: Know the State Laws Legal Definitions Court Forms Preparing Your Case Choosing and Working with a Lawyer When the Legal System Fails You Local Programs

24 Hour Domestic Violence Hotlines

Child Inc.’s Domestic Violence Program New Castle County 302-762-6110
The SAFE Program at People’s Place II Kent & Sussex Counties 302-422-8058
Abriendo Puertas Bilingual Hotline Sussex County 302-745-9874

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Information/Referrals

Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence New Castle County Kent & Sussex Counties 302-658-2958 800-701-0456
Domestic Violence Coordinating Council New Castle County Kent & Sussex Counties 302-255-0405 302-424-7238

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Shelter, Counseling, Support & Victim Advocacy Services

New Castle County
Child, Inc. 302-762-6110
Emergency shelter & transitional services, housing assistance, educational services, bilingual services, court advocacy.
Domestic Violence Treatment Program 302-762-8989
Victim counseling and support groups, treatment services for chemically dependent women, Helping Children Heal Program (individual, group & family counseling for children who have witnessed domestic violence).
YWCA Delaware 302-658-7110 ext. 204
Victim support groups, case management, safety planning, counseling, referrals, educational outreach presentations on domestic violence, transitional housing.
Latin American Community Center 302-655-7338
Victim support groups, bilingual services, support services.
Delaware Center for Justice Elderly Victims Advocate Program 302-658-7174 ext. 12
Intensive case management, long-term support, transportation for court and related appointments for victims 50+ who live in residences owned and operated by the Wilmington Housing Authority.
Kent/Sussex Counties
The SAFE Program at People’s Place II, Inc. 302-422-8058
Emergency shelter & transitional services, housing assistance, employment assistance, transportation, and educational services.
Turning Point at People’s Place II, Inc. 302-424-2420
Victim counseling, support groups, children’s counseling program.
Abriendo Puertas 302-745-9874
Emergency shelter & transitional services, court advocacy, transportation, translation/bilingual, general case management.
La Esperanza 302-854-9262
Bilingual referrals, general case management, court accompaniment & outreach.
Dover Air Force Base, Family Advocacy Program 302-677-2711
Limited to those receiving military medical benefits and their dependents.

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Court Advocacy Programs (located in Family Court)

CHILD, Inc. Domestic Violence Advocacy Program New Castle County Kent County Sussex County 302-255-0420 302-672-1075 302-856-5843

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Certified Domestic Violence (Batterer) Intervention Programs:

New Castle County
Child, Inc. 302-762-8989
Catholic Charities 302-655-9624
Kent/Sussex Counties
Turning Point at People’s Place II, Inc. Bilingual English/Spanish. 302-424-2420
Crossroads of Georgetown Offers programs in Spanish. 302-855-0558
Dover Air Force Base, Family Advocacy Program Limited to those receiving military medical benefits and their dependents. 302-677-2711

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Legal Assistance:

Legal Help Link/Lawyer Referral Service Provides free referrals to an attorney associated with Delaware Volunteer Legal Services, Inc., Community Legal Aid Society, Inc., or Legal Services Corporation of Delaware, Inc., for the following matters: Protection from Abuse orders, divorce, custody, guardianships, landlord/tenant, wills/living wills & power of attorney, government benefits, home ownership, and consumer problems. New Castle County Kent & Sussex Counties 302-478-8850 800-773-0606
Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. Free legal assistance to financially eligible. Assistance with Protection From Abuse orders, custody, divorce, public housing, public benefits & bankruptcy, landlord/tenant problems, and immigration.
New Castle County (Limited to public housing, public benefits & bankruptcy, landlord/tenant problems, and immigration) 302-575-0660
Kent County 302-674-8500
Sussex County 302-856-0038
Delaware Volunteer Legal Services, Inc. – New Castle County Free legal assistance to financially eligible. Assistance limited to Protection From Abuse orders, custody, divorce, and guardianships. 302-478-8680
Legal Services Corporation of Delaware, Inc. Free legal assistance to financially eligible. Assistance with non-Family Court related matters: e.g., bankruptcy, private landlord/tenant, foreclosure, and other consumer problems.
Wilmington 302-575-0408
Dover 302-734-8820

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Police Based Victim Assistance Programs:

Delaware State Police Victims’ Center (24 hours, bilingual Spanish/English) 800-842-8461
New Castle County Police Victim Assistance Program New Castle County Police Bilingual (Spanish/English) Advocate 302-395-8135 302-395-8117
Wilmington Police Domestic Violence Coordinator Wilmington Police Victim Services Coordinator Wilmington Police Victim Services Bilingual (Spanish/English) Advocate 302-576-3648 302-576-3622 302-576-3665
Dover Police Department Victim Assistance Program 302-736-7134
Newark Police Department Victim Assistance Program 302-366-7110 ext. 137