How to Get an Order of Protection

 

If you are a victim of violent harassment or abuse, or think you may be in danger of becoming one, you can get an order of protection to prevent the harasser from getting near you. Taking these simple steps will ensure that the petition process goes smoothly and that your order of protection is as effective as possible.

 

  1. Report harassment or violence to the police and request an arrest/criminal charge. In most states, you can't get an order of protection unless the person harassing or abusing you has been arrested or charged with a crime.
  2. Get a lawyer to help with the process. You can request an order of protection without a lawyer, but your chances of getting the best order of protection will be greatly increased by hiring an expert to help you.
  3. Pay the court fees, if necessary. Not all courts charge for the filing process, but be sure to find out if yours does, and pay the court fees promptly to avoid any delay.
  4. Get an order of protection that will last for as long as you think you might be in danger. Typically, orders of protection are good for one or two years. If you have been a victim of violence or have reason to believe you will be, courts can extend the expiration date on the order of protection.
  5. Make sure your order of protection requires the harasser to turn over all weapons. Orders of protection in some states automatically include this demand, but others may only include it if you can prove that the harasser has been violent or intends to commit an act of violence.
  6. Ask the judge to set limits for how close the harasser is permitted to come to you. You can also ask the court to limit how close the harasser can come to your children, caretakers, and/or pets.
  7. Ask the judge to not allow the harasser to contact you by any method, including phone and Internet. The judge can also prohibit the harasser from contacting your family/friends as a way of getting a message to you.

 

 

Additional resources:

Criminal Justice Intervention: Getting an Order of Protection (O.F.P.)

http://www.letswrap.com/legal/ofp.htm

 

Stop Domestic Abuse: Order for Protection

http://www.stopdomesticabuse.org/order_for_protection.htm

 

Washington State Court Forms: Petition for Order of Protection

http://www.courts.wa.gov/forms/index.cfm?fa=forms.contribute&formID=16