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Restraining Orders

What is a Restraining Order?

A restraining order is an official command issued by a court to refrain from certain activity. Restraining orders are sought by plaintiffs in a wide variety of instances for the same reason: the plaintiff wishes to prevent the defendant from doing something that he or she has threatened.

If you are in an immediate danger, call 911.

Domestic Violence

A domestic violence restraining order is a civil order that protects you from abuse from an intimate partner or family member. It is a court order that is signed by a judge and tells the abuser to stop the abuse or face serious legal consequences. It offers civil legal protection from domestic violence to both female and male victims.

Domestic violence is defined as when your current or former spouse, boyfriend / girlfriend, someone you have a child in common with, someone you live(d) with, or someone you are related to through blood or marriage does one of the following:

  • Causes or attempts to cause you physical injury;
  • Sexually assaults you;
  • Makes you feal that you or another person is in daner of immediate, serious physical injury;
  • Molests, attacks, strikes, batters (uses force), or stalks you;
  • Threatens or harasses you – either in person or through phone calls, emails, etc.;
  • Destroys your personal property; and/or
  • Disturbs your peace.


This civil order provides protection from harassment from someone who you do not have an intimate or familial relationship with, such as an acquaintance, co-worker, neighbor, or stranger. The purpose this type of order is to stop further abuse and harassment.

Harassment is defined as:

  • Unlawful violence, such as:
    • assault (attempting to cause a violent injury to you)
    • battery (use of force against you) or
    • stalking (repeated following or harassing you with the intent to place you in reasonable fear for your safety or your immediate family’s safety.
  • A credible threat of violence (a statement or actions that reasonably place you in fear for your safety, or the safety of your immediate family), or
  • Repeated actions (such as following you, making harassing telephone calls, or sending harassing emails) that seriously alarm, annoy, or harass you, and that serve no legitimate purpose and causes you to be extremely emotionally upset (distressed).

Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse

This civil order can protect a frail or disabled elderly person from physical sexual, or emotional abuse as well as abuse through neglect or financial exploitation

Elder and dependent adult abuse is defined as the abuse, neglect or exploitation of frail and vulnerable people who cannot help themselves and fall under several categories:

  • Physical abuse is the willful infliction of physical pain or injury, such as slapping, bruising, sexually molesting, or restraining.
  • Psychological abuse is the infliction of mental and emotional anguish, such as humiliating or threatening.
  • Financial or material exploitation is another improper act, using the resources of an elderly person with their consent.
  • Neglect is the failure of a caretaker to provide goods or services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish or illness.

You may obtain further information and the forms necessary to file for any restraining order from

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