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What is a restraining order?

Domestic violence is a concern that can impact entire families. Families struggling with the issue of family violence may wonder what a restraining order is and what one does. Restraining orders generally prohibit the individual who has been accused of domestic violence from engaging in certain activities. It is important to note that if an individual who has been accused of domestic violence violates the restraining order by engaging in one of the prohibited activities, they may face additional criminal consequences and penalties.

There are different types of orders including restraining orders, which may be used in different family law situations; emergency protections orders; protection orders, which are longer and more permanent in duration; and other types of orders as well. The names for orders and what they do may vary my state so it is helpful to understand the different types of orders available in your state and if an order has been issued, what type it is.

A protection order can include different provisions such as a no contact provision that prohibits the party accused of domestic violence from contacting the victim by communicating with them, physically harming them or disturbing the victim. There may be a peaceful contact provisions permitting peaceful communication in limited circumstances such as coordinating visitation of children. It will also likely include a stay away provision which requires the party accused of domestic violence to remain a certain distance from the party they are accused of abusing or from the family home or other places. There may also be a move-out provision requiring the party accused of domestic violence to move out of the family home and they may also be required to surrender any firearms and attend counseling.

In domestic violence situations, the party accused of domestic violence is commonly removed from the home and in some instances and states, guns may be removed as well. Because of the significant impact domestic violence situations have on all of the parties involved, it is important that they understand the resources available to the parties involved through the legal system which includes options such as restraining orders and criminal defense options when a party has been accused of domestic violence.

Source:, "Domestic Violence: Orders of Protection and Restraining Orders," Accessed Nov. 3, 2017

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