Orders of Protection FAQs

How to obtain and order of protection in Family Court

WHAT IS AN ORDER OF PROTECTION?

It is a court order that limits the behavior of a person who hurts another person (a person called a "batterer") for a specific period of time. The hurt done by a batterer is often physical, but verbal abuse and threats are enough to get an order of protection (OP) the OP will always direct the batterer not to injure, threaten or harass the person who obtained the order; it may include other conditions as well.

DO I NEED AN ORDER OF PROTECTION?

An OP can really help if you are being hurt or harassed by someone. It can help keep someone away from where you live, work or visit. If the person violates the OP, you have the legal right to get the police to arrest the person.

It's up to you to decide if getting an OP is going to help you or if it is going to make the batterer angry and even more likely to hurt you. If you have questions about his you can talk to someone at The Door Legal Services Center.

WHERE DO GO TO GET AN ORDER OF PROTECTION?

To obtain and OP, you have two options.. You can go to Family Court or Criminal Court. Family Court gives OP's to people who are being abused by relatives (like parents, cousins, brothers or sisters), or when the victim is married to the batterer or has a child with the batterer (regardless if they ever were married or lived together). This means that if a boyfriend with whom you don't have kids is hurting you, you must go to Criminal Court, not Family Court.

Family Court will only result in a criminal record for the batterer if the batterer violates the OP. Criminal Court results in a criminal record if the batterer if found guilty of a crime. The Court Dispute Referral Center (CDRC) is a part of Criminal Court; you can go there to get an OP