There are several reasons a person may ask for a protective order, also known as a restraining order. It is issued to prevent contact from an abuser. There is a process they can follow in Virginia to obtain one.
The most common reason a person requests a protective order is for physical abuse or fear of physical abuse, including violence and threats of violence. Their fear can be for their own safety or a family member’s safety. However, verbal and emotional abuse may also qualify for a protective order.
If the victim is experiencing stalking or harassment, that may also be a reason to request a protective order. Stalking includes being followed, receiving unwanted messages or other contact. Harassment can include continuous unwanted calls, texts or other hostile behavior.
A person may request a protective order where their abuser is financially controlling, is concerned about their child’s safety, or if their abuser is controlling or isolates them from others. These are just a few examples.
The person making the request will generally need to go to the court where they or the abuser lives and complete a petition for the protective order. The petition may require specific information about the abuse and the relationship with the abuser. Then, the person making the request must file the petition with the court.
Once a judge reviews the request, they may issue a temporary protective order if they believe there is an immediate threat to safety. Then, after a hearing, the judge will decide whether to grant a permanent order.