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Can I sign a complaint on my own?

No. The decision whether to file a formal complaint with the court is made by the prosecuting attorney. However, even if your partner is not arrested, the officers will prepare a report of the incident that the prosecutor will review to determine whether or not to file a complaint. If the prosecutor does file a complaint, you need to know that your partner will not be arrested when they serve him with the complaint. He will only have to sign a promise to appear in court on the date stated in the complaint.

If I don't want to report it to law enforcement, can I report it directly to the city prosecutor or the state's attorney?

No, you need to make a report to the police or sheriff’s office first. The Victim Assistance Coordinator at the State’s Attorney’s Office or a Safe Shelter Advocate can assist you in this process. Their phone numbers are listed on the contact information page.

What if I want to drop the charges later or not testify?

Because the prosecuting attorney is the one who files the charges, only he or she can decide to drop the charges. Once the charges are filed by the prosecuting attorney, it is unlikely that they will be dropped.

Refusing to testify should be taken very seriously because a victim’s testimony is often crucial to successful prosecution. You may begin to feel sorry for your partner or worry that he will go to jail, but if he has assaulted you he has committed a crime and must bear the consequences for his actions. If you are concerned about testifying, you can discuss your concerns with the Victim Assistance Coordinator and/or your Safe Shelter Advocate.

If your partner threatens you or tries to make you drop the charges, you need to contact the prosecuting attorney right away. She or he will discuss the options available to you, including a No-Contact Order or a Protection Order, which can prevent your partner from having contact with you during the time the case is pending.