Are You Being Harassed? What is an Order of Protection and How to Get One

An order of protection is a legal document that aims to protect victims of domestic abuse, harassment, stalking, or other forms of violence.

a divorcing couple
Order of Protection

It is issued by a court and signed by a judge, and it restricts the behavior of the person who is accused of harming or threatening the victim.

Depending on the type and duration of the order, it may prohibit the abuser from contacting, approaching, or harming the victim, or require them to stay away from certain places, such as the victim’s home, workplace, or school.

An order of protection may also include other provisions, such as granting custody of children, ordering child support, or mandating counseling for the abuser.

read also: How to Lift a Restraining Order: Follow This Steps!

Types of Orders of Protection

There are different types of orders of protection, depending on the urgency and severity of the situation. The most common ones are:

1.Emergency Protection Order (EPO)

This is a short-term order that provides immediate protection for the victim.

It can be obtained without a hearing or the presence of the abuser, and it lasts for a few days.

An EPO can be issued by a judge, a magistrate, or a police officer, depending on the state laws.

2.Temporary Protection Order (TPO)

This is an interim order that lasts until a hearing for a permanent protection order can be held.

It can be obtained with or without the notice of the abuser, depending on the state laws.

A TPO usually lasts for 30 days or less, but it can be extended if the hearing is postponed or delayed.

3.Permanent Protection Order (PPO)

This is a long-term order that provides protection for the victim for a year or more.

A PPO can be modified or terminated by the court, upon the request of either party or by mutual agreement.

How to Obtain an Order of Protection

The process of obtaining an order of protection may vary by state, but it generally involves the following steps:

1.Filing a petition

The victim needs to fill out a form that describes the relationship with the abuser.

The form can be obtained from the local courthouse, or downloaded from the internet.

The victim can also seek the help of a lawyer, a domestic violence advocate, or a court clerk to complete the form.

2.Serving the petition

The petition needs to be delivered to the abuser by a law enforcement officer.

The abuser needs to be notified of the petition and the hearing date.

3.Attending the hearing

The victim and the abuser need to appear before a judge.

The victim may also bring witnesses, documents, photos, or other proof of the abuse.

The judge will then decide whether to grant or deny the order of protection.

4.Enforcing the order

The order of protection needs to be obeyed by both parties, and any violation of it can result in arrest.

The victim should keep a copy of the order with them at all times, and report any breach of it to the police.

The victim may also seek the assistance of a lawyer, a domestic violence advocate, or a court clerk to enforce the order or modify it if needed.


An order of protection is a powerful tool that can help victims of domestic abuse, harassment, stalking, or other forms of violence.

However, it is not a guarantee of safety, and it does not solve the underlying issues that cause the abuse.

Therefore, victims should also seek other forms of support, such as counseling, therapy, or shelter, to heal from their trauma and prevent future abuse.

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