Topic Overview

If you want to save this information but don’t think it is safe to take it home, see if a trusted friend can keep it for you. Plan ahead. Know who you can call for help, and memorize the phone number.

Be careful online too. Your online activity may be seen by others. Do not use your personal computer or device to read about this topic. Use a safe computer such as one at work, a friend’s house, or a library.

How to get a protective order:

  • Call your local advocacy group or your local
    district or state attorney’s office, or tell the police you want to get one.
    You may be able to get an emergency protective order
  • For a temporary protective order, you will probably
    have to see a family court judge. Tell the judge about times you have been
    threatened with violence or have suffered abuse. List any witnesses, including
    police officers, who may help your case.
  • Show the judge any
    evidence of physical abuse, such as photos of bruises, injuries, or damaged
  • Tell the judge about any prior arrests the abuser has
    had, or obtain the arrest reports. You may be able to get these from the police
    department or sheriff’s office in the community where past abuse occurred.

To be eligible for a protective order, you and the other
party must fit into at least one of the following categories:

  • Married, or formerly married
  • Related
    by blood, marriage, or adoption
  • Currently living together or must
    have formerly lived together
  • Currently or formerly in a dating
  • The parents in common of minor children

For a protective order to work effectively, you must:

  • Inform the court of your specific safety needs,
    including when you are at work, those of your children, and any other
    particular circumstances.
  • Request custody and visitation
    restrictions or “no contact” orders to ensure your children’s safety.
  • Call the police every time the order is violated.

If you travel to another state, check to see whether your
protective order is valid in that state. Protective orders are valid across
some state lines. Protective orders remain in effect until they are removed by
the court, even if the victim consents to contact with the abuser.

Your local domestic violence program or a qualified attorney can help you
get a protective order. To find the nearest program offering legal support, see
the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s website at The National Domestic Violence Hotline at
1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233) can also provide you with contacts.

Related Information


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD – Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD – Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Brigid McCaw, MD, MS, MPH, FACP –

Current as ofMay 3, 2017