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What to Do When You Witness Domestic Violence

Carolyn Woodruff

Dear Carolyn,
I was recently at the US Post Office on Murrow Boulevard. I was in line. There was a couple in line in front of me, and the man was hitting and pushing the woman and then laughing about it. She was obviously hurt and humiliated, but seemed unable to do anything about it. The woman had on a “hijab,” a Muslim head wrap. I didn’t do anything at the time, but I left thinking that maybe I should have done something?

– Concerned

Dear Concerned,
This answer may be more than you want, but here goes.

I would step out of the line and go outside and call 911 for police assistance. Then I would go back inside and watch the situation. I would look around to see if there are video cameras, as this incident might be recorded. Further, it is legal for you to make your own video with your cell phone. If they leave before the police arrive, you need to note the tag number and information about the automobile, if possible. Turn your information over to the police when they arrive.

I made a confidential inquiry with the Greensboro Police Department for you. The Greensboro police would use the video as evidence. Greensboro Police Department will arrest if the police officer sees evidence of domestic violence, and the video would be evidence.

Thanks for being a good citizen, as this woman is being abused in my opinion.

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE

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Note that the answers in “Ask Carolyn” are intended to provide general legal information, and the answers are not specific legal advice for your situation. The column also uses hypothetical questions. A subtle fact in your unique case may determine the legal advice you need in your unique case. Also, please note that you are not creating an attorney-client relationship with Carolyn J. Woodruff by writing or having your question answered by “Ask Carolyn.”

This blog is revised from a previous Ask Carolyn published in the Rhino Times. 

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