What should you do once you have become a victim of a crime?
Victims of a crime need to know what their options are. We provide the following Frequently Asked Questions list to help empower you to fight back and find resolution. We will continue to add questions and answers to this page, so please check back often!
Crime Victim Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What should I do if I am a victim of a crime?
A: First and foremost, file a police report. If you haven't already done so, be sure to file a report with your local law enforcement agency.
Q: Where can I obtain information on Domestic Violence?
A: There are a number of local Domestic Violence Programs in Lucas County. Here are a few programs and telephone numbers:
- 24-Hour Crisis Response - 419-245-3324
- Children's Advocacy Center/Children Who Witness Violence Project - 419-292-2927
- Family & Child Abuse Prevention Center - 419-244-3053
- Family Services of Northwest Ohio - 419-321-6455
- Lucas County Children Services - 419-213-3200
- Lucas County Victim-Witness Assistance - 419-213-4591
- United Way - 211
- YMCA Battered Women's Shelter - 419-241-3235
Q: How can I obtain a restraining order?
A: Go to the Court of Common Pleas at 700 Adams Street in Toledo, or the Court of Domestic Relations at 429 N. Michigan Street and file a petition for the type of restraining order you need. To file, complete the appropriate paperwork--forms that are available online or in the court clerk's office. You will need to provide contact information for yourself and the alleged abuser; details regarding the abuse; and the terms you are requesting. Submit the forms to the clerk, who will give them to a judge for review.
You will then appear before a judge at an ex parte hearing. At the ex parte hearing, you are given the opportunity to briefly present your case, but the alleged abuser is not. The judge will decide if you are in immediate danger; if so, the judge will grant you a temporary restraining order to protect you until the full hearing. The judge will also set a date for that hearing, usually within seven to 10 days.
After the ex parte hearing, the court will forward the temporary restraining order and notice of hearing to law enforcement, who will serve the alleged abuser with them. Because the temporary restraining order will not be effective and the hearing cannot be held until the respondent is served, it is important to follow up with the court to make sure service was completed.
You should also prepare to present your case in court. You should gather any evidence, such as police or medical records, a journal of abuse, photographs of injuries or damaged property, or witness testimony, to support your claims. Legal assistance can be helpful, particularly if the respondent retains legal aid or intends to fight the restraining order. If you cannot appear at the indicated date and time, call the court as soon as possible to reschedule; otherwise, your case may be thrown out and you will have to start the process over again. The alleged abuser may be there. If the alleged abuser does not appear, you may be automatically granted the restraining order.
Ohio restraining orders can be effective for up to five years, and can be renewed at that time.
Q: What should I do if I am a victim of identity theft?
A: Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission. It’s a serious crime that can wreak havoc with your finances, credit history, and reputation — and can take time, money, and patience to resolve. If you take action quickly, you can stop an identity thief from doing more damage. Follow these three steps as soon as possible:
- Place an Initial Fraud Alert
- Order Your Credit Reports
- Create an Identity Theft Report Right Away
Also, placing both extended fraud alerts and credit freezes on your credit reports can make it more difficult for an identity thief to open new accounts in your name. Remember, Federal law limits your liability if your credit, ATM, or debit card is lost or stolen, but your liability may depend on how quickly you report the loss or theft.
Click HERE for the Ohio Attorney General's Identity Theft Help Guide.
Q: What can I do about annoying or threatening phone calls?
A: If you become a victim of annoying phone calls, you should report them to the police department. Your phone company may be able to assist in tracking the origin of the calls if they have a police report number.
If you become a victim of threatening phone calls, report them to the police department. Law enforcement takes threatening calls seriously, and so should you, especially if you are in a battering relationship or have been the victim of domestic violence.
Q: How can I report child abuse?
A: Anyone suspected that a child is being abused should report it to their local law enforcement agency. Call the local Child Protective Services agency or Department of Human Services. If you have concerns about a family residing in Lucas County, call Children Services 24 hours a day at (419) 213-CARE (2273). You will be connected to a specialist in the Intake department.
Also remember that if you think that a child is in immediate danger from child abuse or neglect, then you should call 911.
Q: How can I report elder abuse?
A: Elder physical abuse is defined as a situation where any person who has the care or custody of, or who stands in a position of trust with an elder, willfully inflicts upon that elder any cruel or inhuman corporal punishment or injury. Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to, direct beatings, sexual assault, unreasonable physical constraint, or prolonged deprivation of food or water.
Elder abuse could also be in the form of financial fraud. This includes identity theft and any financial fraud schemes.
To report elder abuse, call the Toledo Police Department at (419) 245-3340.
Q: What other crime victim resources should I be aware of if I am a victim of a crime?
A: Here are a few to keep in mind:
State of Ohio Resources
Amber Alert: http://www.ohioamberplan.org/
Attorney General's Office: http://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC): http://www.missingkids.com/home
National Fraud Information Center: http://www.fraud.org/
Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/