Orders of Protection
Survivors of domestic violence have several civil and criminal protection or restraining order options to protect themselves from further abuse. These orders don’t stop an abuser from stalking or hurting a victim, but they do permit the victim to call the police and have the abuser arrested if they break the order. In Missouri the petition is called an Adult Order of Protection and in Kansas the petition is called a Protection from Abuse.
A protection order is typically for six months to one year. A victim can renew the protection order before the original order expires, if he or she still feels threatened by his or her abuser.
A protection order may include many different provisions, including:
No Contact Provision: Prohibiting the abuser from calling, texting, emailing, stalking, attacking, hitting, or disturbing the victim
Peaceful Contact Provision: Permitting the abuser to peacefully communicate with the victim for limited reasons, including care and transfer for visitation of their child
Move Out Provision: Requiring the abuser to move out of a home shared with the victim
Firearms Provision: Requiring the abuser to surrender any guns he or she possess and/or prohibiting the abuser from purchasing a firearm
Counseling Provision: Ordering the abuser to attend counseling, such as batterer’s intervention or anger management
Attorney Fee’s & Court Costs: Ordering the abuser to pay the victim’s attorney fee’s and/or court costs
Protection orders may include children, other family members, roommates, or current romantic partners of the victim. This means the same no contact and stay away rules apply to the other listed individuals, even if the direct harm was to the victim.
Some states include as part of the protection order custody and parenting time for children of both the victim and abuser. These are generally temporary and can be modified by the trial court overseeing the dissolution of marriage or paternity action.
You can obtain a protection order by filing the required legal papers with your local court. You will have to follow your state law to present evidence at your hearing before the court. For help with requesting a protection or restraining order, contact a qualified family law attorney in your area.
Violation of Protection Orders
Violation of a protection order can be treated in one of three ways: as a felony, misdemeanor, or contempt of court. Felony charges are typically reserved for either repeat or serious violations. Sometimes violations are considered both contempt of court and a new domestic violence charge.
Enforcing Protection Orders in Different States
Domestic violence survivors may move as part of a plan to keep them safe from a former abuser. The Full Faith & Credit Clause of the Constitution and federal law requires that a valid protection order can be enforced where it is issued and in all other US states and territories as well. Therefore, if an abuser stalks a victim in his or her new state of residency, the police must uphold the protection order from another state.