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
A judge can prevent an abuser from seeing the phone records of the victim and any minor child in the victim's custody. The Order of Protection can require phone service providers to transfer service so that the victim can keep the same phone number. The victim will have to pay the bill.
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