Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Protective Orders

If you were physically injured, forcefully detained, or threatened with serious bodily injury by a family or household member, you are a victim of domestic violence. A protective order is a legal document issued by the court to protect you or any other family or household member. Issuing a protective order is not a criminal matter and does not involve bringing criminal charges against the abuser. An order can, however, be requested in addition to bringing criminal charges against the abuser. Through an Order of Protection, a judge can take any of the following actions:

  • Ordering the abuser to refrain from further acts of abuse

  • Ordering the abuser to stay away from the victim’s home for up to 2 years (even if it is jointly owned or rented)

  • Ordering the abuser to refrain from contacting the victim or any other family or household member

  • Ordering the abuser to participate in counseling

  • Granting the victim sole possession of the family residence

  • Granting the victim temporary and exclusive possession or use of a vehicle jointly owned by both parties

To obtain a protective order, you must apply in person between 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. There is no cost involved, and you can apply for the order with or without an attorney present. During non-office hours, you may obtain the number of the Court Services Unit officer on call from the Magistrate’s office or the police department. If you would like one of our victim/witness advocates to help you obtain an order or you want someone to accompany you to the Court Services Unit, please give our office a call at (757) 926-7443 or click here to email the Victim Services Unit.

In an emergency situation, you or a law enforcement officer may request an emergency protective order. This order lasts for 72 hours, unless the 72-hour period expires at a time the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court is not in session. In that case, the order is extended until 5:00 p.m. on the next business day that court is in session.

Obtaining a protective order sends a clear message to the abuser that you will no longer tolerate your situation, and it gives you the protection and force of the court. Keep a copy of your order with you at all times. If the abuser violates it, he or she can be charged with “violation of a protective order,” which will result in jail time.