When a person feels they are in danger from another person, there are legal steps they can take to protect themselves with the help of domestic violence attorneys. One thing a person can do is ask a judge to issue an Order of Protection requiring the other person not to harm them. If the abuser breaks the terms set in place in the Order of Protection, they will be arrested and will immediately be taken into police custody.

What constitutes legal cause for the protection order?

There are four types of orders of protection in the state of Washington. They are:

  • Anti-Harassment orders
  • Domestic Violence Orders
  • Sexual Assault Orders
  • Vulnerable Adult Orders.

In general, an order of protection takes steps to ensure the victim is safe from the abuser. It can order them to leave the home. It can assign child visitation and give one parent temporary custody of the children. It can grant the petitioner use of basic necessities and the use of one of the family automobiles.

Restraining Orders, Anti-Harassment orders, and No-contact orders

Many people often confuse the different types of orders. A restraining order and a no-contact order serve different purposes and in fact, they are not orders of protection.

Restraining orders are much like protection orders, but it is a broader order. It is intended to stop someone from harassing the victim at their home or office. When a person is going through a divorce, they may seek a restraining order. The restraining order will spell out what the person can or cannot do (such as ordering them to leave the family home or get counseling) and to stay away from the victim. It will give the victim temporary custody of the children in most cases.

This particular type of order is often used when a couple is divorcing and one spouse if afraid of the other getting rid of or destroying property, refusing to leave the family home or the children. And making the victim afraid in their own home.

No-contact orders are not orders that the victim petitions the court for as usual. When someone is being released from jail, the judge may issue them a no-contact order, requiring that they have no contact with their victim. It does not usually last as long as a restraining order. The no-contact order does give the victim a small measure of comfort that the person who wronged them cannot call, write, email, or see them.

Anti-harassment orders are usually issued when people are having a dispute, and they are not married to each other. This could include circumstances such as a neighbor that is harassing you over your property. This order will force them to leave you alone until the courts can settle the dispute.

If you are being abused, threatened, and intimidated, there are laws in place to protect you and your family. Seek legal advice and let your domestic violence attorney take you through the process of getting the right court orders to protect you and your children.