Orders of Protection
What is an order of protection? An order of protection is signed by a judge or judicial commissioner and tells someone who is hurting you to stop or face legal consequences.
The order offers civil legal protection for victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking:
1. Domestic abuse - The abuser has done one or more of these things to you:
- physically hurts you, tries to physically hurt you, or puts you in fear of physical harm;
- threatens you with serious physical harm;
- physical restraint (i.e., confines your movements or imprisons you in any way, such as locking you in a room);
- destroys or damages your property on purpose (maliciously); or
- injure, attempts to injure, or puts you or your minor child in fear that s/he will injure any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by you or your minor child.
2. Sexual assault - When anyone commits, threatens to commit, or puts you in fear that s/he will commit any form of rape or sexual battery.
3. Stalking - When someone repeatedly and intentionally harasses you and it reasonably makes you feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or bothered.
The harassment must be part of a pattern of conduct made up of two or more separate acts that are committed by the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties (those separate acts may occur on the same day).
Are you eligible to file for an order of protection?
Victims of all genders may be eligible for an order.
If someone has stalked you or sexually assaulted you, you can ask the court for an order of protection against that person no matter what your relationship is with them.
If someone has abused you (committed domestic abuse), you need to have a specific relationship with them to get an order. The abuser must be:
- your spouse or ex-spouse;
- someone you live with or used to live with;
- anyone you are dating or used to date;
- anyone you are having a sexual relationship with or used to have a sexual relationship with;
- a same-sex partner you've lived with, dated, or had a sexual relationship with;
- anyone you are related to by blood or adoption;
- anyone you are related to by marriage or used to be related to by marriage.
What information do you need BEFORE you can file for an order of protection?
- The full name of the person AND the complete address of the person you are filing against.
- If the person you are filing against lives out of state, you may need a money order for them to be served with the necessary paperwork.
What are the next steps when you are ready to file for an order?
1. Call CVRCC at 901-222-3950 and ask to speak to an advocate about an order of protection.
NOTE: You may be referred to the Family Safety Center of Memphis & Shelby County (901-222-4400) if the person you are filing against is a current or former intimate partner.
2. A CVRCC advocate will discuss your safety needs and review your case specifics to determine if you are eligible to file an order of protection.
3. ONLY AFTER discussing your case with a CVRCC advocate, they may ask you to complete this online application in order to limit the amount of time you will need to be at your in-person appointment.