Is it safe for me to file for a protection order?
The following questions may help you prepare for your conversation with an advocate. You do not have to know the answers to all of these questions – they are simply here to help you think about your own experience and help you decide whether a protection order is right for you.
1. What would be the short-term and long-term benefits of getting a protection order?
2. What would be the short-term and long-term drawbacks of getting a protection order?
3. Do you think the benefits of filing for the order outweigh the drawbacks of filing for the order?
4. What do you think will happen if you do not file the order?
5. Will filing for the protection order put you in more danger in the short-term and long-term than if you did not file the order?
6. How do you think the other party will react to being served with the protection order?
7. Is the abuser afraid of being arrested or afraid of getting in trouble with the police or does the abuser think he or she is "above the law"?
8. Does the abuser have a long criminal history that includes other domestic violence offenses or court order violations? If so – this person may not fear the consequences of violating the court order.
9. Have you ever left your abuser before or sought help specifically about the domestic violence? How did your abuser react? Did he or she try to find you? Did the abuse get worse? Your answer to this may help you to better safety plan if you do decide to file an order.
10. Has your abuser ever threatened to harm or kill himself or herself? Has the abuser threatened to harm or kill you if you ever left?
It is recommended that you contact the Protection Order Advocacy Program and or an advocate from a community based domestic violence program to discuss the safety benefits and drawbacks of filing for a protection order. These advocates will support whatever decision you make with regard to filing an order or not and can help you make a more informed decision.