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Protective Orders

Assisting Victims in Obtaining Protective Orders

Counseling and Representation Services


For safety purposes, the court may decide to issue a protective order to restrict contact with a suspicious intimate or any other possible suspicious individual be in contact with the survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault.  Domestic violence protective orders exist in every state and territory. Victims of domestic violence and some sexual violence survivors may benefit from court protective orders. However, the basis for the order, and the burden of proof that must be met before an order may be issued must be provided by the victims.


Only some sexual violence survivors may be eligible for a DVPO. If the sexual violence occurred within the context of an intimate partner relationship, or if the DVPO statute is broadly crafted, a sexual violence survivor may qualify under the state’s, tribe’s or territory’s domestic violence laws. In some jurisdictions, a survivor will be eligible for the DVPO only if she describes the sexual violence as an “intimate sexual relationship.”


Eligibility For this type of protective order, the law typically requires that a survivor have one of the following types of relationship with the assailant: dating or intimate partner, previous dating or intimate partner; a household member or former household member; a spouse or former spouse; a person with whom the petitioner has a child in common; or a relation by blood, marriage or adoption. In the majority of states, domestic violence protection orders are available to both heterosexual and same sex couples.


For an overview of civil protection orders for battered immigrant victims see Legal Momentum’s March 2005 manual, Breaking Barriers: A Complete Guide to Legal Rights and Resources, chapter 5, “Battered Immigrants and Civil Protection Orders, by Leslye Orloff et al.

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