Persons suffering from mistreatment, physical abuse, or harassment may request a restraining order. In general, these orders are available in cases of domestic abuse, child abuse, and harassment. The order prohibits the defendant from contacting the victim in any way, even indirectly through friends or family. It requires a two-part procedure. First, the petitioner obtains a temporary order preventing contact. Second, the petitioner must prove that a restraining order is necessary at a hearing.
Domestic abuse occurs between spouses, family members, or romantic partners. There are many definitions of domestic abuse, but the one used to obtain a restraining order is rather limited: the petitioner must show physical abuse, property damage, sexual assault, or threats to do the same.
Harassment can occur between anyone, and is poorly defined. It is “harassing behavior without a legitimate purpose.” Common issues that lead to harassment are repeated phone calls or texts, threats, or stalking.
Child abuse restraining orders require serious physical injury or serious emotional abuse. Striking, spanking, or “discipline” of a child without serious injury are not considered child abuse.
It is often extremely difficult for victims to take this step and confront the defendant. We work with abuse/harassment victims with compassion and understanding to help them through this difficult time, and ensure their safety and well-being. We often receive referrals from the Domestic Abuse Intervention Service to assist their clients on abuse and harassment matters.