If you have experienced domestic violence or a threat of violence, stalking, or sexual abuse and you are fearful, one form of legal protection available to you in Indiana is an Order for Protection. An Order for Protection is a court order requires the perpetrator to stay away from you and to refrain from contacting you in any way. An Order for Protection may also be issued to protect a child.
You can apply for this protection on your own as an emergency safety measure, or you may seek assistance from an attorney, domestic violence shelter, or court program designed to assist with the application process. Information, forms and local agencies can be found at Indiana judiciary website. Depending on your situation, you can ask for additional protection such as asking to have the restrained person: stay away from your workplace, school and home; be evicted from a joint home; be restricted in his or her parenting time with affected children; and be prohibited from possession a firearm. If you are the person who has left a joint home, you can also ask for a law enforcement escort to the home to retrieve basic belongings.
Once you apply for a protection order and the court agrees that you have grounds for protection, the court can grant on order as early as the same during business hours and without a hearing (an ex parte order of protection). Sometimes, the court finds there are not sufficient grounds to issue an order or the court may set a hearing within thirty (30) days to hear more information from both sides before making a decision. Certain relief may not be granted without a hearing, and other types of relief require that a hearing be set within thirty (30) days. Finally, the person against whom an ex parte order of protection is issued has the right to request a hearing. Therefore, although a hearing is not always necessary, it may become necessary in some cases.
Violations of a protection order are criminal violations, and the restrained person can be arrested. Indiana maintains a database of orders of protection, which law enforcement officers should be able to access in order to confirm that a protective order is in place in the event that you call with a complaint. It is always a good idea to keep a copy of the order with you, however. You also have the option of pursuing a contempt of court action against the offender in the civil protection case, in addition to any criminal prosecution.
Even if you have a protection order, you need to remain vigilant about your safety. Work with an organization such as Middleway House, Turning Point, or Sheltering Wings to create a safety plan.
Disclaimer: This summary is not intended to be comprehensive, and should not be construed as legal advice for your particular situation. Nothing in this website is intended to serve as or substitute for legal representation.