Domestic Violence Order of Protection Basics

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An order of protection is issued by the court to limit the behavior of someone who harms or threatens to harm another person. It is used to address safety issues, including domestic violence. Whether your case is considered domestic violence depends on your relationship with the person who is abusing you. This relationship is called an “intimate partner.” Learn more at Domestic Violence Basics.

An order of protection can order someone not to injure, threaten or harass you, your family, or any other people listed in the order. For example, it can order someone to:

  • stay away from you and others
  • have no contact
  • move out of your home
  • follow custody orders
  • pay child support
  • give up guns

Different Courts that Issue Domestic Violence Orders of Protection

You can get an order of protection from a Family Court, a court that hears criminal cases and a Supreme Court.

Family Court. The Family Court issues orders of protection as part of a civil, non-criminal, case. You start the case by filing a Family Offense Petition. The goal is to provide relief in an attempt to end the violence.

Criminal. The goal of the criminal case is to prosecute and provide punishment if there is a conviction. The defendant is prosecuted by the State of New York (District Attorney) for crimes committed against you. Your case may be sent to a special Domestic Violence Court.

Supreme Court. The Supreme Court can issue orders of protection during a divorce case. You ask the court for an order of protection during the divorce case by making a Motion or Order to Show Cause. You can also ask the Judge on your court date. The judge decides whether to issue the order of protection and what terms and conditions will be included in the order.

You can get both family and criminal orders of protection at the same time. If this happens, your case may be sent to a special court called the Integrated Domestic Violence Court.

Note: Note: Sometimes the decision to use a criminal court will be made without you. The is can happen if the police respond to an incident and arrest the abuser.

Read more about the Difference Between Criminal and Family Orders of Protection.

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