Tulsa, OK asked in Domestic Violence for Oklahoma

Q: Can DHS take my kids if I don't testify in domestic violence case, if they were not present or living with abuser?

I was the victim of a domestic assault. He was arrested and I was taken to hospital. My kids were not present and we were no longer living with the abuser. DHS has gotten involved, can they take my kids if I don't want to testify or press charges?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Jessica Brown
Jessica Brown
  • Domestic Violence Lawyer
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • Licensed in Oklahoma

A: This is tricky.

First, I'm so sorry that you were treated this way by your abuser. It's a lot to go through.

It is possible that DHS could investigate you for "failure to protect" if your children have been around any domestic violence - but especially if you remain in a dating relationship with the abuser. If you separate from the abuser and the children were not around domestic violence (did not see/hear/etc), then DHS *should* not punish you for not testifying against your abuser. That is not guaranteed if DHS suspects the children were present around DV.

It's a tough line to walk since testifying against your abuser could be a "flash point" that puts you in greater danger. You know your situation best and what you need to do to stay safe. If DHS does get involved, it would be best to contact an attorney.

I wish you the best!

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