Developing a Safety Plan Using a Restraining Order

In some cases, simply ending an abusive relationship isn’t enough to end the full scope of abuse. When a former partner or another person with whom you have a relationship tries to retaliate after you have left or is threatening you to make you stay in the relationship, there are legal protections you can seek. Depending on your state, you can an order of protection or a restraining, protection-from-abuse, stay-away or peace order. These are essentially the same document and offer further protection for victims of abuse.

Regardless of what it’s called, these orders offer the following protections:

  • Enable police and other authorities to help protect you from the abusive situation.
  • Open the door to get custody and visitation orders to protect your child.
  • Creates an official record of the abuse, which makes later legal action much easier.
  • Makes it easier to call the police. Rather than waiting until a situation occurs, you can contact authorities when the person contacts or comes near you.
  • These orders can help get the abusive person out of your home.
  • Criminal penalties may come of the order.

However, these orders do have limitations. They cannot guarantee the abuser will be completely out of your life, especially when you have a child together. It also cannot guarantee the person will not intimidate, harass or threaten you. Instead, it gives an easier route if the intimidation does occur. It also cannot stop peer or gang retaliation. In other words, it can’t stop others from acting against you.

Even with the limitations comes better solutions. If you feel intimidated, you can report the behavior immediately, which can lead to legal action later on. It is important to follow up with authorities if these behaviors continue. It can also pay to have legal representation during this time. If someone is continuing to threaten you after a restraining order has been filed, a lawyer can help with further action.

To file one of these orders, you start at your local courthouse by filing the petition or request for a temporary order. For the permanent order, evidence will have to be provided and it will be up to a judge whether you qualify for a protective order. Because of this, it makes sense to get legal representation as soon as possible. A lawyer will ensure your best interests are considered and that all necessary evidence is presented in an organized manner. If you are in an abusive situation and feel you need protection, contact us today and a member of our team will talk you through the next steps.