Protective orders and dating violence

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Depending on your relationship to the alleged abuser, there are two types of civil relief: a protective order and a peace order.

Protective orders are the main vehicle of civil relief for victims of domestic violence. Protective orders are civil orders issued by a judge that orders one person to refrain from committing certain acts against others. You are eligible for a protective order if you and the alleged abuser: A Peace Order is a form of legal protection for anyone who is experiencing problems with an individual, including someone in a dating relationship, a neighbor, a stranger, or anyone else.

If you show up to court and the abuser has a lawyer and you do not, you may ask the judge for a “continuance” to set a later court date so you can have time to find a lawyer for yourself. See the Preparing Your Case section for information on representing yourself.

Review the protective order before you leave the courthouse.

If you do not show up at the hearing it may possibly be harder for you to be granted an order in the future.

If the abuser does not show up for the hearing, the judge may still grant you a long-term protective order, or the judge may order a new hearing date.

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Here are some things that you may want to do when leaving the courthouse: Ongoing safety planning is important after receiving the protective order.If you cannot go to the hearing at the scheduled time, you may call the judge’s office to ask that your case be “continued,” but the judge may deny your request.You may wish to hire a lawyer to help with your case, especially if the abuser has a lawyer.People can do a number of things to increase their safety during violent incidents, when preparing to leave an abusive relationship, and when they are at home, work, and school.Many abusers obey protective orders, but some do not and it is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe. Advocates at local resource centers can assist you in designing a safety plan and can provide other forms of support.

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