An Order of Protection is a court paper that protects its holder from the abuse of someone in their family or who lives with them, including children. An Order of Protection is also known as a restraining order. It is a safety tool for victims of abuse.
With an Order of Protection, a victim can ask a judge to protect them from an abuser. A judge may require the abuser to:
- Stop abusive acts
- Stay away from the victim and other people protected by the order
- Not contact the victim via telephone calls, mail, email, written notes, or third parties
- Stay away from the victim's home, school, or work
- Attend counseling
- Pay child support
- Return or stay away from property and pets
- Move out of a home they share with the victim
In Illinois, an Order of Protection protects a victim from the abuse of:
- Anyone in the victim's family or household, anyone they are related to by blood or by marriage, parents, children, and stepchildren
- Anyone the victim knows through a child, such as the child's grandparents
- Anyone the victim had a child with
- Anyone the victim is dating or living with, or has ever dated or lived with
- The victim's spouse or former spouse
Any adult with a disability who is abused or neglected by a family or household member can also get an Order of Protection.
A person can ask for an Order of Protection by:
- Contacting a local domestic violence program and asking for help. To locate the nearest program, call the State of Illinois Domestic Violence Helpline at (877) 863-6338;
- Going to your local circuit clerk's office to file a petition on your own in civil court;
- Asking a lawyer to file a request for an Order of Protection in court or as part of an existing case like a divorce; or
- Requesting a criminal Order of Protection once criminal charges are filed by the state's attorney.
Most courthouses offer free legal help for you to file a case. For more information, visit the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence's website.
If someone has an Order of Protection against you, learn more about Responding to a Petition for an Order of Protection.
Updated: January 2017