Protection orders are civil court orders that can help protect a victim from a perpetrator. There are different types of protection orders depending on the nature of the violence or harassment and the relationship between people. Generally, they can help by ordering the perpetrator to:
- Stop doing violent, threatening or harassing acts
- Stay away from your home, work, school or other places you go
- Stop contacting you, or harassing you in person, by mail, email, phone or through a third party.
There are many things to consider before applying for a protection order. You must decide if it will be more helpful or hurtful for you to go through this process. The protection order is one part in your overall safety plan. The SARIS specialist, UW Police Department Crime Victim Advocate or Protection Order Advocates can help with this process.
Types of protection orders
Anti-harassment Protection Order
The Anti-harassment protection order is for victims of harassment who do not have a personal relationship with the perpetrator as defined in the Domestic Violence Protection Order. The legal definition of harassment includes:
A knowing and willful “course of conduct” directed at you which seriously:
- Alarms, annoys or harasses you and
- Serves no “legitimate or lawful” purpose;
- Would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and actually causes substantial emotional distress to you.
A course of conduct is:
- A series of acts
- Over a period of time (however short)
- With an on-going purpose
For more information go to King County District Court Anti-Harassment Protection Order.
Domestic Violence (DV) Protection Orders
The DV Protection Order is used when the victim and perpetrator have a relationship with each other and the violent behaviors meet the legal definition of domestic violence. The relationships include: dating partners or married (present or past), family members or roommates. The legal definition of domestic violence includes:
- Physical assault
- Threats of physical assault or harm
For more information go to Protection Order Advocacy Program Seattle King County.
Sexual Assault Protection Order
The Sexual Assault Protection Order is for any person who is a victim of sexual assault (single or multiple incidents) and who is afraid of the perpetrator. It is for people who do not have a relationship with the perpetrator, as defined in the Domestic Violence protection order. The sexual assault does not need to be reported to the police. The legal definition of sexual assault includes:
- Sexual contact without consent.
- Oral, vaginal or anal penetration, however slight, by a body part or object, without consent.
- Forced display of the genitals, anus or breasts for the purpose of sexually arousing another.
For more information go to the Washington Courts.