Personal Protection Orders

Restraining Orders of Protection

Information on obtaining and filing restraining orders or personal order of protection.

Most people who are victims of domestic violence, physical or emotional abuse and harassment often find themselves without a proper understanding of their rights and how to get help.

You don't need an attorney to get an order but it is a good idea to hire one if there are children involved.

What is a restraining or personal order of protection?
These are judicial order documents designed to protect you against an abuser in cases of sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking or harassment.

Where to get a R.O.?
Go to a state court Forms are available from the clerk of the Superior Court, domestic violence programs, legal services offices.

What is a Permanent and Temporary R.O.?
Permanent: order made in final judgment. Temporary: order while case is pending.

Does it cost any money?
There is no cost to file the application for a rest. order. And, the state pays for a marshal to serve (give the papers) to the other person in all cases.

Do Orders of Protection make you safe?
The court can order the abuser to: Stop harassing or threatening you and/or other family or household members. Not contact or go near you and not have a gun.

How long after does it take effect?
If there is an urgent need, Temporary orders can be issued immediately and offer protection until the hearing.

How do I file a restraining or personal protection order?
The forms must be signed in front of the court clerk or a notary public. The police and the abuser will receive a copy of the application and statement (affidavit).

Who can help me?
There are court workers who do help those requesting one make sure the paperwork is filled out correctly, and often offer support during the hearing. If you can, hire a lawyer or try free legal aid attorneys in your state.

How long does it take to file one?
Same time it takes you to go to the court and fill out a form requesting one, along with an affidavit supporting your need for the protection.

What's the restraining order criteria?
Anybody who needs protection against physical violence, harassment, stalking or sexual assault could file one.

What are the Domestic restraining order requirements?
Been abused by a related family member, someone you are married to, or are registered domestic partners with, separated, divorced, dating or used to date, live together or used to live together.

What if I don't have a close relationship with the abuser?
Apply for a Civil harassment order if your complain is against a co-worker, roommate and/or a neighbor. Also there are Dependent Adult or Elder Abuse orders.

Do I need to go to court?
Yes. Your presence is necessary at the court hearing. If you do not show, the judge will remove a restraining order against the abuser.

What if the abuser does not obey the order?
Call 911. The abuser can be arrested and criminally charged for restraining order violations. If you need a place to stay find a Battered Women Shelter near you

How long does it last?
Permanent orders last for up to 5 years. Temporary orders will last until your hearing date.

What to bring to the court hearing?
It will help if you have proof of the abuse: Witnesses, medical or police reports, photos, threatening letters, damaged property, phone messages, e-mails,...etc.

Can I file an order for workplace harassment?
Yes. You can file a civil harassment order.

For more help and information call: National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1(800)799`SAFE (7233) or 1(800)787`3224 (TTY)

The National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1(800)656`4673.

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DISCLAIMER: The law will vary depending on your state, jurisdiction and the specifics of your case. The information provided by is intended for educational purposes only. The content on this site should NOT be considered professional legal advice or a substitute for professional legal advice. For such services, we recommend getting a free initial consultation by a licensed Attorney in your state.

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