An order, issued by the circuit judge, which provides victims of domestic violence, who are in immediate and present danger of domestic abuse, protection that can be enforced by law enforcement and the court.
- Spouse or ex-spouse of the batterer
- Current live-in, or ex-live-in of the batterer
- Relative of the batterer
- Any adult family or household member on behalf of a minor, including a married minor, or an incompetent person.
- Persons having a child together
- An employee or volunteer of a domestic violence shelter or program on behalf of a minor, including a married minor.
- Persons who are presently or in the past have been in a dating relationship together.
- The petitioner (victim) shall not be required to pay initial filing or service fees for the Order of Protection.
- You don't have to have an attorney to obtain an Order of Protection.
- Violation of an Order of Protection is a misdemeanor, carrying a maximum penalty of one year in jail, and/or a fine of up to $1,000.00.
- Violation of an Order of Protection will be heard in Circuit Court or other courts having jurisdiction over criminal matters.
- Violation of an Order of Protection may result in a contempt of court hearing by the Circuit Judge who issued the Order.
- Fill out the petition for the Order of Protection. These can be found at women's shelters, Circuit Clerk's offices, or Victim Witness Coordinators' offices.
- The judge will hold an Ex Parte hearing. At this time the judge may issue an Ex Parte Order of Protection (temporary order). This order must be filed with the Circuit Clerk. A copy must be given to the Sheriff to serve the batterer.
- A full hearing is held. At this point, a Full or Permanent Order of Protection may be granted. A permanent Order of Protection can last for up to two years. Both parties will be sworn in to tell the truth of the allegations contained in the petition. If the respondent does not show after being served notice of the hearing, the judge has the ability to grant the Order in part or in its entirety.
- Order the batterer to stay away from the victim's home, workplace, child's school, or any other place the victim frequently goes.
- Order temporary custody or visitation of minor children.
- Order special conditions on child visitation.
- Order special conditions agreed to at the permanent hearing.
If possible, have your local shelter or victim witness coordinator assist you through the process of filing an Order of Protection.
- Have an advocate explain what an Order of Protection can and cannot do.
- Keep a copy of your Ex Parte or Permanent Order with you at all times.
- Give a copy to law enforcement agencies in the cities and counties in which you live, work or visit.
- Report violations to law enforcement and to the Judge who issued the Order by filing contempt charges.
- Keep a journal of calls, drive-by occurrences, threats, etc., to report stalking.
- Keep copies of the Order at your place of employment, children's schools, and any address listed on the Order.
An Order of Protection is a tool used by victims of domestic violence and law enforcement. It is a not a guarantee that your batterer will not attempt to harm you. A personalized safety plan should be designed to further ensure your safety. Speak to an advocate at your local shelter for more information on safety planning.