Domestic Violence Victims


Domestic violence is a crime. Any unprivileged physical contact is considered assault. The community here in Dover takes it seriously and has a mandatory arrest policy. We are concerned for your safety and that of your children. You deserve better. The Dover Police Department believes that the aggressive prosecution of the abuser will help achieve the primary goal of victim safety.

After there is an arrest, the State of New Hampshire will file a criminal charge. It has been the policy that domestic assault charges not be dropped. The community feels that without Court intervention the pattern of domestic violence will escalate in severity. Successful prosecution will result in the abuser being required to complete a counseling program.

Your safety is the number one priority. You can obtain a restraining order from with the Local District or Superior Court. Also, a no-contact order can be instituted as part of a bail condition.

If the Court is closed, you may request the police to obtain a temporary telephonic restraining order.

Additional safety information and suggestions can be obtained through "Haven", a New Hampshire-based support agency for victims of partner abuse, at 1-603-994-SAFE (7233).

  • 24-hour hotline 
  • emergency shelter, now with 24-hour staff 
  • one-to-one support in offices, or other safe locations 
  • legal and social service advocacy 
  • children's program 
  • community education for adults and prevention programs for kids in middle-high school 
  • support groups 
  • volunteer program

After there has been an arrest, the abuser will have an arraignment where a plea of guilty or not guilty is entered.

If a not guilty plea is entered, then a trial date will be set up. The victim will be subpoenaed to testify regarding the assault. The trial will be approximately 6-8 weeks later.

A follow-up interview will be conducted by a police detective 2-3 days after the arrest. This involves interviews with the victim, witness(es) and photos of injuries.

A victim advocate will be assigned to the case and will be available to answer any questions you may have regarding your case.

If the case proceeds to trial a prosecutor from the Strafford County Attorney's Office will evaluate the case to determine if your testimony is needed to obtain a conviction. The prosecutor may go forward without your testimony. A judge will then determine a sentence if there is a guilty finding. The Strafford County Attorney's Office prosecutes all domestic violence cases for the City of Dover Police Department.




  • Is someone following you?
  • Is someone threatening you?
  • Are you a victim of constant harassment?
  • If the answer is yes to one or all of these...
  • You may be a victim of STALKING

What Is Stalking?

Stalking takes various forms. Someone may be:

  • Causing you alarm by repeatedly and willfully appearing within your sight
  • Repeatedly confronting you in a public or private place
  • Persistent harassment over the telephone, mail, email, or facsimile

New Hampshire passed a stalking law in July 1993. This makes it a crime if someone is repeatedly following you or appearing at your home or engaging in threatening conduct. If the stalker is causing you fear for your safety, you should report the conduct to your local police.

All fifty states have Stalking Laws, but they are not all the same. Again, your local police can highlight the applicable statute. New Hampshire state law RSA 633:3-a covers Stalking.

Stalker Violence

Stalking can last days, weeks, months, and even years. It is important to recognize that not only is the victim in danger but all people surrounding the victim. Some cases may seem harmless, but they may be quite deadly.

Most victims believe that because they have not been threatened, they are not in any danger. Studies indicate that whether a stalker made a threat has no bearing on whether or not s/he poses a threat.

There are numerous other indicators that cannot be ignored when assessing a stalker’s propensity for violence.

What Steps a Person Can Take

If you become a stalking victim, it is important to educate yourself about stalking. Several national, state, and local organizations can assist. Assistance or advice can be obtained by calling the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence at 1-866-644-3574 or the National Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Again, your local police are one of the best resources to not only educate yourself but to assist in developing a safety plan. Contact Dover Police 24 hours a day at 603-742-4646.

There are a few simple steps that should be taken if you think you are being stalked:

If you do not have a restraining order, and you have had some type of relationship with the offender, you may go to the local district or superior court to obtain a domestic violence petition. Even if you haven’t had a relationship with the offender, you may be able to obtain a stalking petition. Both of these petitions (orders) compel the offender to leave you and your family alone. Any and all violations can subject the offender to immediate arrest.

You should keep notes or a journal of any attempts made by the offender to contact or intimidate you. Keep all mail, gifts and/or phone messages. These can be used as evidence and should be turned over to the police. Report each contact.

Tell your family, neighbors, and employer so they can assist you should the offender try to contact you. 

For further information contact:
Dover Police Department
46 Locust Street
Dover, New Hampshire 03820
ATT: Special Investigations Bureau 
Phone 603-516-6121
or e-mail your questions to Lieutenant Scott Pettingill

Additional Information
Help for Abuse Victims
Children Witnessing Violence Counseling
Laws on Restraining Orders and Domestic Violence