Domestic Violence Banner

What Happens When The Police Are Called?

If you are the victim of an abusive relationship or domestic violence, call Roanoke County Police and allow us to help. Below are a few things you can expect to happen when officers arrive at your address, and some next steps in the process.

When the Police Arrive:

  • Tell what has happened and who is involved.
  • Tell the location of the suspect, if known.
  • Tell if weapons were involved and the location of the weapons. Never approach an officer with a weapon.
  • Indicate any injuries you sustained. Photos may have to be taken of any injuries for evidence.

The Officer Will:

  • Take notes and document the incident that occurred.
  • Will ask or determine if medical attention is needed.
  • Will arrest the assailant and obtain an Emergency Protective Order, if the law allows. Emergency Protective Orders expire in 72 hours, or on the next business day. See more information below about Protective Orders.

The Officer Can Assist With:

  • Obtaining a warrant or Protection Order. The suspect's address, work location, or other possible locations will be needed.
  • Providing transportation to obtain a Warrant, Protection Order, or Shelter for you and your family.
  • Referrals to other social services as needed.

Next Steps…

If the person who hurt you is arrested, the police will take him or her to the Magistrate's office:
    Roanoke County Jail
    401 East Main Street
    Salem, VA 24153

The person may be held in custody until he or she goes before a judge, or the person may be released on bond. If you want to know if the person is being held or has been released, call the Roanoke County Jail at 540-283-3145.


If your abuser was not arrested by the police, you may apply for a Warrant by appearing IN PERSON at the Magistrate's office, 401 E Main Street, Salem. Magistrates are available 24 hours, 7 days a week. You do not have to be physically injured to get a Warrant. Warrants may also be issued for threats or property damaged.

Protective Orders

A Protective Order is a civil matter where you ask a judge to tell your abuser to leave you alone. Violations of any Protective Order constitute grounds for mandatory arrest. You should call 911 if your abuser violates the protective order. Emergency protective orders expire in 72 hours or on the next business day after that. To continue protection you must apply for a protective order. You must apply for a full Protective Order in person at the following address
    Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court
    2 East Calhoun Street
    Salem, VA 24153
    Monday through Friday
    8:30 am to 4:00 pm

If you have been granted a protective order, you may apply for the Hope Card Program (protective order reference card) through the Virginia Court System.

Commonwealth's Attorney

The Commonwealth's Attorney Office prosecutes domestic violence cases. You can speak with a Commonwealth's Attorney about the case by calling 540-387-6174.


Once a hearing is set, criminal and civil charges will be heard in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, 305 East Main Street, Salem. You can contact the Court for details at 540-387-6156.

Call Roanoke County Police Department's Domestic Violence Division at 540-777-8699, 540-562-3265, or email us for assistance. We can help you obtain warrants, orders of protection, and counseling.

Dial 911 in an emergency.

>> Download a PDF of this page content.