A protection order is an official document from a judge. When a judge issues a protection order, they are ordering an abuser to stop certain actions which help keep the victim safe. The protection order can tell an abuser to stop actions like:
- Hurting you
- Threatening you
- Contacting you
- Coming to your home or workplace
The court can order other protections like making the abuser move out of your home or making alternate school arrangements.
In Ohio, there are two types of civil protection orders to protect people against abusers who are younger than 18 years old.
- Domestic Violence Juvenile Civil Protection Orders can protect a family or household member who has been the victim of domestic violence or a sexually oriented offense committed by a minor.
- Juvenile Civil Protection Orders can protect anyone who is the victim of felonious assault, aggravated assault, assault, aggravated menacing, menacing by stalking, menacing, aggravated trespass and sexually oriented offenses committed by a minor.
Filing for a civil protection order does not guarantee your safety. Learn about the other types of protection orders in Ohio and the risks of filing for a civil protection order here.
How to get a Juvenile Civil Protection Order
You do not need a lawyer to apply for a protection order, but a lawyer can be helpful. Some lawyers can help you for free. Some courts also have special departments that can help you through the Civil Protection Order process. Community advocates can also assist you for free. Check Local Government and Community Resources to see if your court has a Domestic Violence Help Center or other resources.
To get a Juvenile Civil Protection Order:
- Get the forms and fill them out. You can get the Petition for a Domestic Violence Juvenile Civil Protection Order or a Juvenile Civil Protection Order here. Include details about the recent violence, threats and stalking and a history of past violence, threats and stalking. You can attach additional pages. The court may limit your case to the incidents described in the forms. So, be sure to include everything you want the court to consider.
- Talk to an expert. Before you file, talk to a lawyer or an advocate from a local domestic or sexual violence organization. A lawyer can help you understand your complete legal situation and the risks of taking different legal actions. Advocates can help you understand any additional risks you might have, connect you with services and help you complete the forms. Advocates may be able to go to court with you.
- File the forms. Contact the local Juvenile Court where you live. Your court may have other local forms that you have to file with your petition, so ask the Clerk if there are more required forms before you file. You must go to the Clerk's office in-person to file.
- Attend the ex parte hearing. On the day that you file for a Domestic Violence Juvenile Civil Protection Order, or no later than the next day for a Juvenile Civil Protection Order, the Court will hold an emergency hearing, called an "ex parte" hearing. The respondent does not attend the ex parte hearing. At this hearing, you (and your lawyer, if you have one) meet with the judge. Your advocate is also allowed to be present during this hearing. The judge reviews your forms and may ask you some questions. Then, the judge decides if you need an emergency “ex parte” protection order that starts immediately.
- Complete service. “Service” is when the Court officially tells the abuser about your filing. When you fill out your civil protection order forms, you will complete the “Request for Service” on the last page of the petition. This is where you will tell the Court how you’d like service to be completed, either through in-person service by the Sheriff, certified mail or both. After you file, you will need to follow up with the Clerk’s office to make sure that service was completed. Your case cannot be heard at the full hearing until service has been completed.
- Attend the full hearing. Whether or not you are given the emergency, "ex parte" protection order, the Court holds a full hearing, usually within 7 or 10 business days. At the full hearing, you testify and present evidence including any witnesses to show the judge why you need a protection order. You must show that the abuser’s actions have met the requirements for the civil protection order.
- Be careful with agreements.
- In Domestic Violence Juvenile Civil Protection Order cases, you and the other party can negotiate a "consent agreement" that defines the protection order’s terms. Unlike with a regular protection order, getting a consent agreement means that the court does not have to make a finding that the violence occurred, only that the parties agreed to the order. If the other party wants to negotiate a consent agreement, you should consult with a lawyer first to see if it could put you at legal risk.
- If you are getting a Juvenile Protection Order, while the law does not allow for consent agreements in these cases, many courts ask the parties to make an agreement instead of going to a hearing. The agreement would explain what the respondent, and sometimes you, are allowed or not allowed to do. Getting an agreement means that the court does not have to make a finding that the violence occurred, only that the parties agreed to the order. An agreement may give the abuser a legal advantage. Some courts may consider a “mutual stay away order” which is different from an agreement. If the other party wants to negotiate an agreement or “mutual stay away”, you should consult with a lawyer first to see if it could put you at legal risk.
- Get a court order. The Court issues the order after the hearing. Keep your protection order with you in case you need to call the police to enforce it. Give copies to people who may need it (like school). You can also share it with your employer if you feel comfortable disclosing that information.
How to enforce a protection order
If the abuser breaks the rules of a civil or criminal protection order, it is a “violation of the protection order” and they can be arrested or face other consequences.
If there is a violation of a protection order:
- You should call the police. The police can enforce protection orders by arresting the violator.
- The police or prosecutor can file criminal charges. If convicted, the abuser can face fines, probation, or jail time.
- For civil protection orders, the court that issued the order could also find the abuser in contempt of court. When someone violates a civil protection order, you can ask the Court that issued the order to find them in contempt. If found in contempt, the abuser can face fines or jail time. Filing for contempt is complicated, so you should talk to a lawyer or advocate before filing.
If you do not feel safe calling the police, contact a lawyer or an advocate to determine your best options.
Renewing a civil protection order
To extend or renew a protection order, you must file before the original protection order’s expiration date.
Some courts require new violence or threats to extend or renew a protection order. Other courts allow you to extend or renew a protection order if you are still afraid of the abuser.
If your Juvenile Civil Protection Order or Juvenile Domestic Violence Protection Order is expiring because the abuser is turning 19 and you would like to continue to have a civil protection order in place, you will need to file for another type of protection order. Read more about the other civil protection orders to see if they would apply.
For help extending or renewing a protection order, talk to a lawyer.