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Domestic Violence: Protection Orders

What is a Protection Order?

An "Order of Protection" (as it is called in Washington State) is a special legal order available to victims of domestic violence. It orders the person who has been committing acts of violence to be restrained from further acts of assault or threats.

When you are the victim of domestic violence and need to ask the Court for a Civil Order of Protection to restrain someone, you are filing a civil (non-criminal) case. In the legal documents that are used in the case the people involved are called:

Petitioner: the person who is asking for the Order for Protection. The petitioner is usually the victim of domestic violence, but can be the victim's parent or legal guardian.

Respondent: the abuser, the person you are filing the order against.

Who Can Get One?

  • Anyone who has been physically, emotionally or sexually abused by a spouse, former spouse, family member, partner, other parent of your child, current or former roommate, or current or former person in a dating relationship.
  • Anyone who has been stalked repeatedly and/or harassed to the point of being terrorized, intimidated or threatened.

What Protection Does the Order Provide?

  • Orders the Respondent from committing acts of domestic violence.
  • Excludes Respondent from Petitioner's residence or residence shared by the Petitioner and Respondent.
  • Prohibits Respondent from harassment, stalking, and/or contacting the petitioner on the street, by mail, by telephone, at school, or at work.
  • Awards temporary custody of minor children to one parent and establishes temporary visitation.
  • Orders Respondent to participate in treatment or counseling.
  • Prohibits Respondent from removing the children from the jurisdiction of the court.
  • Orders the Respondent to pay for the administrative court costs and service fees and to reimburse petitioner for costs incurred in bringing the action.
  • Orders the Respondent to surrender weapons and Concealed Weapons Permit if a weapon was used in the incident.

How Much Does An Order For Protection Cost?

There is no fee for an Order for Protection.

An attorney is not required to file for an Order for Protection.

Is There Help Available For The Protection Order Process?

  • The Protection Order Advocacy Program
    (425)430-6654 Renton
    (206) 205-7406 Kent
    (206) 296-9547 Seattle
  • Assistance in preparation of the temporary order.
  • Preparation/advocacy/attendance at Protection Order hearings.
  • Information/prep/safety planning regarding Protection Orders.
  • Court accompaniment for clients (subject to advocacy staff availability).

How Do I Get One?

  • You can file for an Order for Protection in any District, Municipal or Superior Court in any county in Washington.
  • If either children or property are involved in the case then the full order hearing will take place in Superior Court.
  • You can download the forms, fill them out and print before you come to the courthouse.

How Do I Find The Court Location?

  • Contact the Protection Order Advocacy Program:
    Renton Municipal: (425) 430-6654
    Regional Justice Center in Kent: (206) 205-7406
    King County Courthouse in Seattle: (206) 296-9547
  • Consult the Blue Government Pages in your local phone book for other court locations.

What Should I Bring?

  • Bring any information that supports the facts such as police reports, medical records, and photographs.
  • Have as much information about your abuser as you can such as date of birth, hair color, eye color, height, weight, address, Social Security number, driver's license number, work address, etc.
  • Any court documents you have such as custody orders, lease agreement, divorce papers, etc.
  • There is no fee for filing an Order of Protection. You will be provided with the necessary number of certified copies at no cost to you. Keep one copy with you at all times.

What Should I Expect When I Get There?

  • It will take two or three hours to fill out the forms and obtain a judge's signature. Try to be at the Courthouse no later than 3:00 p.m.
  • The first step is to fill our forms that ask the court for a Temporary Order for Protection and an Order for Protection. You will be asked to describe the most recent incident of abuse and a history of the domestic violence. An Advocate can assist with this paperwork.
  • A Judge or Commissioner will review your paperwork, possibly ask some questions, and decide whether to grant or deny the Temporary Order for Protection
  • A full order hearing will be held 14 days later. The respondent needs to be served 5 days prior to the hearing. Both the Petitioner and the Respondent attend the full order hearing.
  • At the full order hearing the court will decide whether to grant or deny an Order for Protection, which is effective for one year or more.
  • After the hearing, if the order is approved, you can request as many certified copies as you need at no extra charge.

Can I Change The Order Once It Has Been Approved?

This Order may be modified or terminated prior to the expiration of the order. Please contact the issuing Municipal, District, or Superior Court for further information about the process for modification or termination of an Order for Protection.

What Happens If The Order For Protection Is Violated?

Call 911 immediately. Show the law enforcement officer a certified copy of your order. If the Respondent has been served with the Order he may be immediately arrested or issued a citation. An arrest is mandatory if the Respondent violates the provisions or goes onto the grounds of a residence, workplace, school or daycare where prohibited; other violations may include criminal or contempt charges.

Orders of Protection can be an important part of Safety Planning.

You may also download Protection Order forms from this site. If you need help or have questions, email the Domestic Violence Victim Advocate or call (425) 430-6654.