WHAT TO EXPECT AS A VICTIM WHEN YOUR ABUSER IS ON PROBATION
When someone is on probation for a domestic violence related charge, that individual on probation has terms and conditions of probation that the Court directs them to follow once they have completed the sentencing process and placed on probation. These terms and conditions are to hold the individual responsible for their actions as well as develop positive changes in that individual’s life so that they do no re-offend. This individual will be assigned to a supervising probation officer or someone from the probation department who oversees their case and ensures that they are following the terms of probation that were given to them.
Terms and conditions of probation, can be anything such as having to pay restitution for damages that were caused from the individuals behavior during the incident, the individual being able to be searched on their person or place of residence at any time with or without a search warrant by any peace officer, keep in contact and report to their assigned probation officer, obey all laws, as well as abide by orders of all Criminal Protective Orders if one is in place. Every individual who is placed on probation for a domestic violence related incident is required by penal code and the Court to complete a 52 week domestic violence (Batters Intervention Program). This is counseling that is designed to address and correct negative behaviors that have led to domestic violence incidents, and help the individual on probation learn new skills when dealing with emotions or times where they have been violent. Probation monitors the compliance of these programs and the individual participating.
If an individual is not complying with their terms and conditions of probation then they are held accountable and a Violation of Probation is submitted to the Court so that the Court can be made aware of the non-compliance. The Court will then go through the legal process of providing services and consequences for different non-compliance concerns. A VOP could be done through the arrest of the individual to expedite the individual’s case and get them before the Court faster as well as done in order to protect the community, victim, and also protect the client. A VOP may not always result in an arrest of the individual on probation and can be done through a citation to Court to have the concern of non-compliance heard. Instead of being ordered to jail or prison, an individual on probation is on probation for a set term or amount of time. During this time they are to follow all orders of the court until they have satisfied the term of probation. However, if they continue to not satisfy their terms and conditions of probation, the Court may order them to serve their remaining jail time or to state prison.
How to Contact a Probation Officer
While an individual is on probation, as a victim of an offense, you may be contacted throughout the term of probation by the probation department to ensure your safety. The probation department also reaches out to victims of domestic violence to see if restitution is something that will be claimed, as well as welfare checks to ensure the safety of the victim and their loved ones. Victims of these crimes can also contact the probation department at any time with questions, as well as concerns that they may have. There is certain information that cannot be shared with the victim, however, the assigned probation officer will do their best to answer questions and address concerns appropriately.
If a victim of the individual on probation calls to report the individual not following there terms and conditions of probation, the probation officer will ask the victim to come into the department for further follow up. A victim statement will be documented, and written down when meeting with the probation officer. The probation officer will then follow up with the appropriate action which often times leads the individual having to go back before the Court for not complying with their terms and conditions (VOP). If you are uncomfortable with coming to the probation department or need support, the probation department will also meet you at the San Joaquin County Family Justice Center or walk you to the FJC for further support during this process.
You can contact the Probation Department at (209) 468-4000. After going through the prompts and when you speak with the receptionist provide the name and date of birth of the individual on probation and they will direct you to the assigned officer. You can also come into the probation department located at 24 S. Hunter Street Stockton, CA 95202. Once at the department you will check in with the receptionist on the 2nd floor.
Victim's Rights/Criminal Protective Orders
As a victim of domestic violence you and your loved ones have a right to feel safe. You have a right to continue to live your life without the fear of further abuse. You also have the right to attend court proceedings, give input to the Court related to the individuals case or status of probation. You have the right to be supported during this time which will come through the Family Justice Center, and Victim Witness. There are measures that can be put in place to further protect you. This is done through Criminal Protective Orders or a Court ordered Stay Away.
In these incidents the Court will direct the individual on probation to have no contact with the victim. They can be ordered to stay at least 100 yards away from the victim. Any contact or attempted contact can lead to an immediate arrest and VOP, or often at times a new criminal charge. Often times there are children involved or this may have been an isolated incident where the Court will order the individual on probation to not annoy, harass, threaten, or strike a victim in their case and they can continue to make health contact with the victim in their case. If at any time the individual begins to annoy, harass, threaten or strike the victim and this occurs while on probation, it is also a Violation of Probation and the individual on probation may be arrested and brought before the court for failing to follow these orders.
SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY RESOURCE AGENCIES
SJC Family Justice Center: 209-468-2600
*Chest of Hope (phone and text): 209-259-5552
Child Abuse Prevention Council: 209-464-4524
Community Medical Centers: 209-636-5400
Gospel Center Rescue Mission: 209-320-2323
SJC Department of Child Support Services: 209-468-8601
SJC Victim Witness: 209-468-2500
*24 Hour Hotline