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  Domestic Violence - What Can You Do?  

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Orders of Protection

An Order of Protection is a legal order from a judge used to help protect victims of domestic abuse. It contains "remedies" which order an abuser to take certain actions or prohibits him from taking certain actions. The abuser, listed as the "respondent," can be arrested for violating certain remedies listed in an order of protection. A protected person cannot be arrested for violating an Order of Protection.


How to Obtain an Order of Protection:

An order of protection is available to family or household members who have suffered domestic abuse. Request an Order of Protection by:

  • Contacting a local domestic violence program and asking for help. To locate the nearest program, call 1-800-799-SAFE(7233).
  • Going to the local circuit clerk’s office and asking for help.
  • Asking an attorney to file a petition in civil court (such as divorce court).
  • Requesting an order after criminal charges have been filed.
What if You Decide to Stay?
Staying in an abusive relationship can be dangerous. If you decide to stay, consider these safety tips:
  • Change the locks.
  • Install a security system, smoke alarms and outside lights.
  • Pre-program emergency numbers into the telephone.
  • Tell neighbors and ask they call police right away if they see the abuser.
  • Notify work and try to arrange for your calls to be screened.
  • Report any violation of the Order of Protection right away. Call 9-1-1.
What if You Decide to Leave?

Leaving an abusive relationship, even for a short time, can be difficult and dangerous. Leaving can be made easier and safer when you involve police and victim advocates and remember to bring along the following items:

  • Money, your checkbook, credit cards, ATM cards
  • Identification (for self and the children): birth certificates, social security cards, welfare I.D., school and work I.D., green cards, work permits, etc.
  • Important papers such as your divorce papers; school records; lease, rental agreement or house deed; and insurance papers
  • Order of Protection–if you have one, keep it with you at all times.
  • Medical records
  • Medications (prescription and over-the-counter)
  • Keys for car, house and work
  • Change of clothing
  • Address book
  • Mortgage/rent payment book
  • Current unpaid bills
  • Pictures or other items of sentimental value
  • Children’s favorite toys, blankets or other items

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