What is a Civil Protection Order and How Can It Help You?

A civil protection order is a legal tool that can help victims of domestic violence, stalking, harassment, sexual assault, and other forms of abuse.

It is a court order that limits the behavior of the abuser and protects the victim from further harm.

Civil Protection Order
Civil Protection Order | Shouse Law

If you have been abused, threatened, or harassed by someone, you may feel scared, helpless, and alone.

You may wonder what you can do to stop the abuse and protect yourself and your loved ones.

One option you may consider is getting a civil protection order.

A civil protection order, also known as a restraining order, is a court order that prohibits the abuser from contacting, approaching, or harming you.

It can also grant you other reliefs, such as temporary custody of your children, child support, spousal support, or possession of your home or car.

A civil protection order can help you feel safer and more in control of your situation.

Types of Civil Protection Orders

There are different types of civil protection orders, depending on the relationship between you and the abuser, the nature of the abuse, and the state where you live. Some of the most common types are:

1.Domestic Violence Protection Order

This type of order is for victims who have been abused by a current or former spouse, partner, parent, child, or other family member.

 Civil Protection
Civil Protection

It can also apply to victims who have a child in common with the abuser, or who have lived with the abuser in the past.

2.Stalking Protection Order

This type of order is for victims who have been stalked by someone who is not a family member or intimate partner.

Stalking is a pattern of repeated and unwanted contact, attention, or harassment that causes fear or distress.

It can include following, spying, calling, texting, emailing, or sending gifts or messages.

3.Sexual Assault Protection Order

This type of order is for victims who have been sexually assaulted by someone who is not a family member or intimate partner.

Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual contact or activity, such as rape, groping, or coercion.

It can also include threats of sexual violence or exposure to sexually explicit material.

4.Harassment Protection Order

This type of order is for victims who have been harassed by someone who is not a family member or intimate partner.

Harassment is any repeated and unwanted behavior that annoys, alarms, or intimidates you.

It can include name-calling, insults, threats, or vandalism.

How to Get a Civil Protection Order

The process of getting a civil protection order may vary depending on the state where you live, but it generally involves the following steps:

File a petition

You need to fill out a form called a petition, where you explain why you need a protection order and what reliefs you are requesting.

Get the form from the court or online.

Attach evidence of the abuse, such as police reports, medical records, photos, or messages.

You can file the petition yourself or with the help of a lawyer or an advocate.

Get a temporary order

After you file the petition, a judge will review it and decide whether to grant you a temporary order.

Temporary order is an order that lasts until a hearing is held, usually within a few weeks.

It can give you immediate protection and relief.

The judge will issue a temporary order if they find that you are in danger of immediate harm and that you are likely to succeed at the hearing.

Serve the abuserAfter you get a temporary order, you need to serve the abuser with a copy of the order and the petition.

Serving means delivering the documents to the abuser in person, usually by a law enforcement officer or a professional process server.

You cannot serve the abuser yourself or ask a friend or family member to do it.

Serving the abuser is important because it notifies them of the order and the hearing date, and it allows them to respond to your petition.

Attend the hearing

A hearing is a court proceeding where you and the abuser present your arguments and evidence to the judge.

The judge will listen to both sides and decide whether to grant you a final order.

A final order is an order that lasts for a longer period of time, usually one or two years.

It can extend or modify the reliefs granted by the temporary order.

Attend the hearing and bring any witnesses or documents that support your case.

You can also have a lawyer or an advocate represent you or assist you at the hearing.

Enforce the order

After you get a final order, you need to enforce it.

Enforcing means making sure that the abuser follows the order and does not violate it.

If the abuser violates the order, you can report it to the police or the court.

The police can arrest the abuser and the court can impose penalties, such as fines, jail time, or probation.

You should keep a copy of the order with you at all times and inform your family, friends, employer, school, or other places where you go about the order.


A civil protection order is a powerful tool that can help you protect yourself from abuse and violence.

It can also help you regain your peace of mind and your sense of safety.

If you are a victim of abuse, you are not alone. There are resources and services available to help you.

Domestic violence hotline, a sexual assault hotline, a legal aid organization, or a local shelter for more information and support.

The right to live free from fear and harm.

You have the right to seek a civil protection order.


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