Family Abuse Protective Orders

What Is a Family Abuse Protective Order?

Personal or family abuse protective orders are orders issued by a judge to protect a victim of domestic abuse, stalking, harassment, or intimidation.

How Does One Obtain a Protective Order?

A victim fills out a form asking the court for a protective order. The court issues a summons directing the alleged perpetrator to appear in court for a protective order hearing. The hearing is held generally within 30 days. The court can issue an emergency protective order without a hearing, if the circumstances warrant such action.

What Does a Protective Order Do?

A protective order tells a perpetrator how far to stay away from the victim and provides for monetary compensation if the order is violated. A protective order can also specify temporary child custody.

How is a Protective Order Enforced?

The victim can call the police to report a violation of the protective order. Generally, criminal sanctions are imposed for a violation of a protective order. The person who violates the protective order can be charged with contempt of court, a misdemeanor (an offense punishable by up to one year in jail), or a felony (an offense punishable by more than one year in prison). Several states, including Iowa, Illinois and Hawaii, require a mandatory minimum period of confinement for anyone who violates a protective order.

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