If I’m not eligible for a protection order, what other options are there?
Please contact the Protection Order Advocacy Program before deciding not to file for a protection order. The Protection Order Advocates can help you assess for sure whether you are eligible and may be able to provide you with information about other options.
Other types of civil and criminal orders that prohibit contact
No contact order:
A No Contact Order (NCO) is a criminal court order that can only be entered if the abuser is being charged with a domestic violence crime or as a condition of being sentenced for a domestic violence crime. If your domestic violence incident has not been reported to the police then you will not be eligible for this type of order.
A prosecutor will typically request a no contact order on all domestic violence cases and the court will typically enter a no contact order on every case. If you know your abuser is being charged with a DV crime, contact the advocate of that court or the prosecutor (if there is no advocate) and ask if a NCO has been entered. You have the right to request that the no contact order be removed but each court typically requires a different set of steps to accomplish this. Please contact the court where the case is being handled to find out more information about no contact orders.
PLEASE NOTE: The following orders are not domestic violence orders and may not give you the extent of protection that the domestic violence protection order can offer you. Please contact the Protection Order Advocates for help determining which order may be the best fit.
*It is also important to note that many domestic violence survivors often have more than one court order in place at a time
Order for protection from unlawful harassment (anti-harassment order)
An Anti-Harassment Order is a civil order available to people experiencing unlawful harassment. There are no relationship criteria to file for this order. The order can restrain the abuser from contacting you/your minor children, from keeping you/your minor children under surveillance, and from coming to your home, workplace or school. Anti-Harassment Orders are filed in either District Court or Superior Court, however, if the person harassing you or your child is under the age of eighteen, you must file your petition in Superior Court. There is a fee for filing an Anti-Harassment Order but it can be waived for petitioners who are low income. There are no advocates to assist with Anti-harassment orders but you can call 206-296-7870 for more information.
What is “unlawful harassment”?
A knowing and willful “course of conduct” directed at you which seriously:
- Alarms you
- Annoys you
- Harasses you
- Serves no “legitimate or lawful” purpose
- Would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and actually causes substantial emotional distress to you.
What is a “course of conduct”?
- A series of acts (or a pattern of behavior)
- Over a period of time (however short)
- With an on-going purpose to harass
How does the court determine if the acts are “unlawful”?
The court considers the following:
- Is the respondent (the person who is harassing you) contacting you or are you contacting each other?)
- Has the respondent been clearly told that you do not want any further contact?
- Is the respondent’s behavior alarming, annoying, or harassing you?
- Are the respondent’s actions interfering with your privacy or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive living environment for you?
- Has the respondent’s contact with you been previously limited by a court order?
A Restraining Order is a civil court order that can only be filed by people who are married or who have children in common and who are either filing for or are in the middle of a family law action. Examples of a family law action include: divorce, paternity, parenting plan, legal separation, or parenting plan modification. A restraining order can include similar physical restraint provisions as a protection order (can prohibit the respondent from contacting you or coming to your home, work or school, etc) but it does not offer as comprehensive protections as a protection order. A restraining order can also offer some financial protections which are not able to be granted in a protection order. It is common for domestic violence survivors who are married or who have children in common to file for both a protection order and (usually later) a restraining order. For more information about restraining orders, contact the Family Law Facilitator Program a family law attorney experienced with domestic violence cases, and/or a community-based domestic violence program.
Sexual assault protection order
A Sexual Assault Protection Order is an order that is specifically designed for people who have experienced unwanted sexual contact or sexual penetration (as defined by statute) by someone other than a family or household member. A Sexual Assault Protection Order can be filed at any municipal, district, or superior court. Help is available to petitioners who are filing for sexual assault protection orders. Please contact King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (website) to request assistance: 1-888-998-6423
Vulnerable adult protection order
A Vulnerable Adult Protection Order is an order that is specifically designed for people who are legally defined as “vulnerable” and who have experienced or been threatened with acts of abandonment, sexual abuse, mental abuse, physical abuse, exploitation, neglect and or financial exploitation by another person. There are no special relationship criteria between the victim and the abuser for this type of order. A Vulnerable Adult Protection Order can be filed at any municipal, district or superior court. Adult Protective Services (website) and the Attorney General’s office (website) can often assist people with this order.