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How to Get a Restraining Order in Washington State: A Guide for Victims of Abuse
Posted in Safety Tips on April 12, 2023
When a person experiences abuse or harassment, it can have a lasting and traumatic impact on his or her life. The fear and isolation can feel overwhelming, but there are ways to get help.
In Washington, victims have access to several types of restraining orders that can offer protection and a sense of security. These orders can help victims take back control of their lives and begin to heal from the trauma they have experienced.
What Are the Different Types of Restraining Orders?
A restraining order is a legal order issued by a court that requires a person, known as the respondent, to refrain from certain behaviors or actions. They are commonly used in cases involving domestic violence, harassment, stalking, or other situations where one person feels threatened or endangered.
There are several types of restraining orders in Washington, including the following:
- Domestic Violence Protection Order: This type of order is available to victims of assault or threats by a family member. It generally directs the respondent to refrain from causing harm and stay away from the victim’s home.
- Restraining Order: This type of court order has a broader scope and can cover various issues such as property, custody, domestic violence, child support, and alimony. It is often filed as part of a family law case/
- No-Contact Order: This is a protective order issued as part of a criminal case, prohibiting the respondent from contacting the victim while the case is pending. It does not require the victim to file a petition and only remains in effect during the criminal case.
- Civil Anti-Harassment Order: This order is designed for victims of harassment by strangers or neighbors, prohibiting the respondent from contacting the victim or coming near his or her home or workplace. It requires a formal petition to be filed with the court.
How Do You Obtain a Restraining Order in Washington?
To file a restraining order in Washington, you generally need to follow these steps:
- First, you will need to file a Petition for Protection Order with the appropriate court. An attorney can help you complete and file this form on your behalf.
- Next, a judge will review the petition and any evidence filed with the petition to determine if a temporary order is necessary. The judge will also schedule a full hearing.
- After the judge issues the restraining order, law enforcement will serve protection order papers on the respondent.
- Then, the full hearing will take place. At this hearing, the judge will decide whether to issue a final protection order, which usually remains in effect for at least one year.
Holding Abusers Accountable for Their Actions
While obtaining a restraining order can provide protection, it’s also important to hold abusers accountable for their actions. If you suffered a physical or emotional injury due to someone else’s abuse, you may be eligible for a personal injury lawsuit.
In a personal injury lawsuit, you can seek compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You can also hold your abuser accountable for their actions and send a message to others that abuse will not be tolerated.
To determine your legal options, speak to a Washington personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options and guide you through the litigation process.