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Legal Information: Oregon

Oregon Restraining Orders

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Restraining Orders

A restraining order or protective order is a legal order issued by a state court which requires one person to stop harming another. In Oregon, there are several types of orders explained below.

Overview of Civil vs. Criminal Law

A quick overview of the legal system

The legal system is divided into two areas: civil law and criminal law. Separate courts govern (control) these two areas of the law.

One of the most confusing things about the legal system is the difference between civil cases and criminal cases. In domestic violence situations, there may be both civil and criminal cases occurring at the same time as a result of the same violent act. You may want to pursue both civil and criminal actions for maximum protection. The major differences have to do with who takes the case to court and the reason for the case.

Civil Law
In a civil domestic violence action, you are asking the court to protect you from the person abusing you. You are not asking the court to send that person to jail for committing a crime. However, if the abuser violates the civil court order, he may be sent to jail for the violation. In a civil case, you are the person bringing the case against the abuser and (in most circumstances), you have the right to withdraw (drop) the case if you want to. Restraining orders in Oregon that we refer to are under the civil law system.

Criminal Law
The criminal law system handles all cases that involve violations of criminal law such as harassment, assault, murder, theft, etc. A criminal complaint involves your abuser being charged with a crime. In a criminal case, the prosecutor (also called the district attorney) is the one who has control over whether the case against the abuser continues or not. It is the county/state who has brought the case against the abuser, not the victim. It is possible that if you do not want the case to continue (if you do not want to “press charges”), the prosecutor might decide to drop the criminal charges but this is not necessarily true. The prosecutor can also continue to prosecute the abuser against your wishes and could even issue a subpoena (a court order) to force you to testify at the trial.

Family Abuse Prevention Act Restraining Orders

A Family Abuse Prevention Act restraining order ("FAPA" order) is a civil order that provides protection from harm by a family or household member.

Basic information

What is the legal definition of domestic abuse in Oregon?

This section defines domestic abuse for the purposes of getting a Family Abuse Prevention Act restraining order, commonly referred to as a "FAPA" order.

Domestic abuse is when a family or household member:

  • Attempts to hurt you physically;
  • Actually hurts you physically (intentionally, recklessly or knowingly);
  • Intimidates or makes you afraid of serious physical injury (intentionally, recklessly or knowingly); or
  • Makes you have sex against your will by force, or threat of force.*

“Family or household member” means any of the following:

  • a current or former spouse;
  • an adult related by blood, marriage or adoption;
  • someone you are living with or have lived with in the past;
  • someone you have been in a sexually intimate relationship with, within two years immediately preceding the filing of a restraining order petition under; or
  • someone with whom you have a child in common.**

* O.R.S. § 107.705(1)
** O.R.S. § 107.705(4)

How can a Family Abuse Prevention Act restraining order protect me?

A restraining order can order the abuser to:

  • Stop abusing, threatening, or interfering with you and any children in your custody;
  • Stay away from your home, school, place of business, or other specified place;
  • Leave your home (if you live together);
  • Remove personal belongings from the home while police stand guard; and/or
  • Have no contact with you in person, by mail, or by phone.*

A restraining order can also:

  • Give you temporary legal custody of your children;
  • Give the abuser temporary custody (if you request this) dependent upon certain conditions to protect the children;
  • Allow you visitation rights to your children if the abuser has custody;
  • Order other relief that the judge thinks is necessary to provide for the safety and welfare of you and your children, including but not limited to emergency financial assistance from the respondent; and/or
  • Order other relief to prevent the neglect and protect the safety of any animal kept for personal protection, companionship, service or therapy (but not an animal kept for any business, commercial, agricultural or economic purpose).*

Whether a judge orders any or all of the above depends on the facts of your case.

* O.R.S. § 107.718(1)

What types of Family Abuse Prevention Act restraining orders are there? How long do they last?

When you go to the court to file for a restraining order, the judge might give you a temporary restraining order.  A temporary restraining order is a court order designed to provide you and your family members with immediate protection from the abuser.  You may receive a temporary restraining order as soon as you file your petition, without the abuser present in court.

The temporary restraining order is legal as soon as the court grants it.  However, it cannot be enforced until the abuser has been served with notice of the order.  A sheriff or another qualified person will serve the abuser with a copy of the order.

After the respondent (the abuser) receives the temporary restraining order, s/he has 30 days to ask for a hearing. If the abuser asks for a hearing, it must be held within 21 days of that request.  If the abuser contests (fights) the temporary order, then you will have a court hearing to determine if the temporary restraining order will continue.

Once issued, your (permanent) restraining order is in effect for one year unless:

  1. the order is dismissed or modified by the court;
  2. it is dismissed earlier by the court at your request; or
  3. the court renews it at your request, whichever comes first.*

Note: At the time you file your petition for a temporary restraining order, the judge may schedule an "exceptional circumstances" hearing.  What is an exceptional circumstances hearing?

*O.R.S. § 107.718(3)
** O.R.S. § 107.718(2)

In which county can I file for a restraining order?

You can file a petition in the county where you live, or in the county where the abuser lives.*

* O.R.S. § 107.728

Who can get a Family Abuse Prevention Act restraining order

Am I eligible to file for a Family Abuse Prevention Act restraining order?

You are eligible to file for a Family Abuse Prevention Act restraining order if you have experienced domestic abuse within the last 180 days* by a family or household member, which is defined as:

  • a current or former spouse;
  • an adult related by blood, marriage or adoption;
  • someone you are living with or have lived with in the past;
  • someone you have been in a sexually intimate relationship with, within two years immediately preceding the filing of a restraining order petition under; or
  • someone with whom you have a child in common.**

Note: When calculating the 180-day time period, any time during which the abuser was in prison or was living more than 100 miles from you does not count as part of the 180-day period.*

If you are not eligible for a Family Abuse Prevention Act ("FAPA") restraining order, you may be eligible for a stalking protection order, a sexual abuse protective order, or a restraining order for the elderly and disabled

* O.R.S § 107.710(6)
** O.R.S. § 107.705(4)

Can I get a restraining order against a same-sex partner?

Can I get a restraining order if I'm a minor?

Maybe.  If you are under 18 years old, you cannot file on your own for a Family Abuse Prevention Act restraining order unless the abuser is over 18 and:

  • is your spouse or former spouse; or
  • is someone with whom you have been in a sexually intimate relationship (regardless of whether or not you ever lived together).*

You must have experienced domestic abuse within the last 180 days to get a restraining order against the abuser.  However, any time during which the abuser is in prison or lives more than 100 miles from you does not count as part of the 180-day period.**

If you do not satisfy the above requirements, speak to a local domestic violence organization for more information about minors getting restraining orders. You can find one near you on our OR Advocates and Shelters page.

* O.R.S § 107.726
** O.R.S § 107.710(6)

What is an exceptional circumstances hearing?

When you file a Family Abuse Prevention Act restraining order, an "exceptional circumstances" hearing will be scheduled if the judge determines that there are issues affecting the custody of your child(ren). The judge will order that this hearing be held within 14 days. At this hearing, the judge will ask both you and the respondent to appear and provide additional information about the circumstances of your children and your contact with them. For example, the judge may order such a hearing if you are not the usual and primary caretaker of the children or if your request for custody conflicts with a previous order of the court in another matter.*

* O.R.S. § 107.718(2)

How much does it cost? Do I need an attorney?

There is no fee to file for a Family Abuse Prevention Act restraining order* and you do not need an attorney to get one.  However, an attorney is recommended if the abuser contests the restraining order or hires an attorney.  You can find legal referrals on our OR Finding a Lawyer page.

* O.R.S. § 107.718(8)(c)

Steps for getting a Family Abuse Prevention Act restraining order

Step 1: Go to the courthouse and get the petition.

Go to the circuit court in the county where the abuse occurred, where you live, or where the abuser lives. Find the civil court clerk and ask for a petition to apply for a restraining order. The form you will need is called "Petition for Restraining Order to Prevent Abuse (Family Abuse Prevention Act)."

You can find links to petitions online by going to OR Download Court Forms.

Note: You, the person filing the complaint, are the “petitioner.” The person against whom you are filing against (the abuser) is the “respondent.”

When you go to the courthouse, remember to bring some form of identification. It is also helpful to bring identifying information about the abuser if you have it such as:

  • a photo;
  • addresses of residence and employment;
  • phone numbers;
  • a description and plate number of the abuser's car; and
  • any history of drugs or gun ownership

You can find a court near you by going to our OR Courthouse Locations page.

Step 2: Fill out the petition.

Read the petition carefully and ask the clerk questions if you don’t understand something. You must provide complete and truthful information.

Write about the most recent incidents of violence, using descriptive language (slapping, hitting, grabbing, choking, threatening, etc.) that fits your situation.  Be specific.  Include details and dates, if possible. If there is space for it on the petition, you could also include details about the history of abuse so that the judge can understand the bigger picture, not just the most recent incident.

An advocate from a domestic violence organization may be able to help you fill out the form. See OR Advocates and Shelters to find the location of an organization near you.

Do not sign the petition until you have shown it to a clerk; the form may need to be notarized or signed in the presence of court personnel.

Step 3: A judge will review your petition.

After you finish filling out your petition, take it to the court clerk. The clerk will forward it to a judge. The judge may wish to ask you questions as s/he reviews your petition. The judge will decide whether s/he thinks the abuser is a real threat to you and/or your children’s physical safety, and whether or not to issue the temporary restraining order.

If the judge issues you a temporary restraining order, the clerk of the court must deliver a copy of the petition and temporary restraining order to the county sheriff so that the abuser (respondent) can be served. You should also request two free copies of the petition and order for your own records. Make sure to keep a copy of the order with you at all times.

Step 4: Service of process

A restraining order (temporary or permanent) is legal as soon as the court grants it. However, it cannot be enforced until the abuser has been served with it.

The county sheriff is responsible for serving the abuser (respondent). You may have the order served by another private party or an officer of the peace. If you choose this option, the person who serves it may have to fill out an affidavit of service that you will have to bring back to court with you – ask the clerk about this if you choose to not have the sheriff serve the papers. You cannot serve the abuser the papers yourself.

There is no cost to file a petition, to have the sheriff serve the papers, or to have a court hearing about the restraining order.

Step 5: See if the abuser requests a hearing.

When the abuser receives his/her copy of the restraining order papers and knows about your petition, s/he has 30 days to ask for a hearing, which must be held within 21 days of that request. The court will let you know if there is a hearing scheduled.

Step 6: The hearing

You will only have a hearing if the abuser requests one. If the abuser requests a hearing, it is extremely important that you attend that hearing so that your restraining order doesn't get dismissed.  If you -- or any witness who you plan to have testify-- cannot attend the hearing in person, you can file a motion (court request) in which you ask the judge to allow you or your witness to "attend" by phone or by another two-way electronic communication device.  If the judge believes there is "good cause" to allow this the judge can allow it.  For example, if you convince the judge that the safety of your or your witness would be threatened if the judge required you/your witness to appear in person, this could be considered "good cause."* 

The judge will want to hear from you and from any witnesses that you may have who witnessed the abuse or your injuries.  You will need to be specific -- describe when and where the abuse took place, what happened, how (and with what) you were injured, (e.g., explain to the judge if you were hit with a fist, an elbow, an open palm, a heavy object, on the floor or against a door or furniture, etc.), whether the police were called, and if you were treated by a doctor or medical professional. If you have any pictures of your injuries, medical reports, or police reports, bring them to court with you.  See Preparing Your Case page for ways you can show the judge that you were abused.

If the abuser shows up to the hearing with a lawyer, you may ask the court to postpone the hearing to a later date (also called a continuance) to give you some time to get a lawyer to represent you.  Even if the abuser doesn’t have a lawyer, you may wish to bring one with you to the hearing to help present your case to the judge. See OR Finding a Lawyer for contact information of lawyers in your area.  If the abuser does not show up for the hearing, the judge may still grant you a restraining order for up to one year, or the judge may order a new hearing date.

* O.R.S. § 107.717(1),(3)

After the hearing

Can the abuser have a gun?

Once you get a protection order, there may be laws that prohibit the respondent from having a gun in his/her possession.  There are a few places where you can find this information:

  • first, read the questions on this page to see if judges in Oregon have to power to remove guns as part of a temporary or final order;
  • second, go to our State Gun Laws section to read about your state’s specific gun-related laws; and
  • third you can read our Federal Gun Laws section to understand the federal laws that apply to all states.

You can read more about keeping an abuser from accessing guns on the National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center’s website

Will I have to face the abuser in court?

Maybe. A judge can give you a temporary restraining order without a full court hearing and without the abuser present.  However, the abuser has the right to request a hearing, within 30 days of being served with the paperwork notifying him/her of the temporary restraining order, for a chance to tell his/her side of the story.  If the abuser does request a court hearing, a hearing will normally be set for some time during the following 21 days. You must attend that hearing. If you do not go to the hearing, a judge may take away your temporary restraining order. You may have to face the abuser at that hearing.

If the abuser does not request a court hearing, your temporary restraining order can last for up to one year.

You may have additional court hearings if you want to change or extend your restraining order, or if the abuser violates the restraining order. The abuser may come to those hearings. See How do I change or renew (extend) the permanent restraining order?.

What should I do when I leave the courthouse?

Here are some things that you may want to consider doing.  Please evaluate each one in the context of your specific situation to see if you think that it is appropriate for you:

  • Review the order carefully before you leave the courthouse. If something is wrong or missing, ask the clerk to correct the order before you leave.
  • Make several copies of the restraining order as soon as possible.
  • Keep a copy of the order with you at all times.
  • Leave copies of the order at your work place, at your home, at the children’s school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on.
  • Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work along with a picture of the abuser.
  • Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
  • If the court has not given you an extra copy for your local law enforcement agency, take one of your extra copies and deliver it to them.
  • You may wish to consider changing your locks, if permitted by law, and your phone number.

You might find it helpful to talk to someone at a domestic violence organization near you for support. See OR Advocates and Shelters for contact information.

Even with a restraining order, it is important to take safety precautions and create a safety plan to keep you and your children as safe as possible.  Please read our Safety Tips information or ask your local domestic violence advocate to help you design a safety plan that is best for you.

What can I do if the abuser violates the order?

If the abuser violates the restraining order, you can immediately call 911. Make sure that the officers make a report so there will be a record of the violation. Write down the officer's name, badge number, and report number. Make sure a police report is filled out, even if no arrest is made. If you have legal documentation of all violations of the order, it may help you have the order extended or modified.  According to the law, a peace officer must arrest the abuser and take him/her into custody (without a warrant) when the peace officer has probable cause to believe that a restraining order exists, was properly served and was violated.*

If the police are called and the abuser is arrested, a court hearing may be set to have him/her found in "contempt of court" for violating the restraining order, or criminal charges can be filed.  At the hearing, if the abuser is found in contempt of court, the maximum punishment could be a fine and/or up to six months in jail.  Your local district attorney is required to represent your interests at the contempt hearing if you cannot afford to hire your own attorney.**

The restraining order can play an important role in protecting yourself, but it is important to create a safety plan or go to a local support center for additional help in keeping yourself as safe as possible. For additional help, please see our Safety Tips and OR Advocates and Shelters pages.

* O.R.S. § 133.310(3)
** Oregon State Bar website

How do I renew (extend) the restraining order?

You can go back to the court where you originally filed the Family Abuse Prevention Act restraining order and request an extension.  There does not have to be a further act of abuse in order to get it renewed.*  A judge may renew (extend) the restraining order if s/he finds that you are reasonably afraid of further acts of abuse by the abuser (respondent) if the order is not renewed.**  If your child was included in the order, and now your child has reached the age of 18, s/he can get the order extended for himself/herself if s/he is reasonably afraid of further acts of abuse by the abuser (respondent) if the order is not renewed.**  Even if the original petitioner/parent does not want the order renewed for himself/herself, the child (who is now 18) can still get the renewed order for himself/herself (s/he does not have to file a new petition).***  In order for the court to renew your restraining order, you must request the renewal before your current order ends.

If the judge decides to grant the renewal, the abuser will be notified of the renewal. The abuser then has the right to request a hearing to fight the renewal. If the abuser requests a hearing, the judge will schedule the hearing within 21 days.****  If this happens, you might find it helpful to have an attorney.  Go to our OR Finding a Lawyer page for legal referrals. 

* O.R.S. § 107.725(2)
** O.R.S. § 107.725(1)
*** O.R.S. § 107.725(3)
**** O.R.S. § 107.725(4)

Is the restraining order still valid if I move?

Your order is good wherever you go in Oregon. Additionally, the federal law provides what is called "Full Faith and Credit," which means that once you have a criminal or civil protection order, it follows you wherever you go, including U.S. Territories and tribal lands. Different states have different rules for enforcing out-of-state protection orders. To find out more information about your new state’s policies, go to Know the Laws and choose your state from the drop-down menu on the left side of the screen. Under the Restraining Order section, you will find information about “Enforcing an Out-of-State Order.” 

You may want to have your address changed officially by the court. However, if your new address is confidential from the abuser, be sure to ask the clerk how to keep the new address confidential from the abuser if s/he checks the court records for any reason. Check with a local domestic violence organization for more help.

If you are moving to a new state, you may want to call the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit (1-800-903-0111 x 2) for information on enforcing your in your new state. They might be able to tell you if the new state requires you to register the order with that state and other useful information.  However, before registering the order, you should make sure that the new state will not notify the abuser that you are living there if this will be unsafe for you.

Keep in mind that if your order includes an order about custody or visitation of a minor child, you may have to give notice to and seek permission from the court and/or the abuser of your move, depending on what your order says and the laws in your state.  Please speak to an attorney for more information.  You can find legal referrals on our OR Finding a Lawyer page.

What if I want to drop (dismiss) my permanent restraining order?

If you want to drop your restraining order, you need to go back to the court that issued your order and fill out dismissal papers. You may have to talk to the judge and tell him/her why you want to drop the restraining order. Different judges have different ways of handling these requests. Some judges will ask you lots of questions, but other judges will just sign the dismissal order without asking you anything.  In some counties, the judge will tell you to go to a class with other domestic violence victims before the judge agrees to drop the order.

In some cases, the judge will try to help you figure out whether there is a way to modify (change) your order so that it can still give you some protection from abuse, but so that you can have the contact you want with the abuser.

If you have dropped your restraining order (or let it run out) and you are abused again, you can always go back to court for a new restraining order if you meet the requirements.  Talking to a domestic violence advocate might help you decide which option is best for you. See our OR Advocates and Shelters page for referrals to local domestic violence organizations.

Stalking Protection Orders

Stalking protection orders provide protection from someone who is stalking you.

Basic information

What is stalking?

What is a stalking protection order?

What does stalking protection order cost?

How long does stalking protection order last?

Stalking protection orders don’t have a specific end date at the time they are issued. If the judge issues a permanent order, it remains effective until it the judge decides to end the order.

What will the stalking protection order actually do?

When the judge grants a stalking protection order, the order will specifically say what the stalker (respondent) is not allowed to do. The stalker may be ordered to have no contact with you, to stop stalking you or your family members, etc. It is a crime to violate a stalking protection order.*

* O.R.S. § 163.750(2)(a)

Who can get a stalking protection order

Am I eligible for a stalking protection order?

If I already have a domestic violence restraining order, can I also get a stalking restraining order?

Yes. Even if you already have a domestic violence restraining order, you can still ask the court for a stalking protection order against anyone who is stalking you. This includes someone you are related to, someone you have no connection to, or a stranger.

Steps for getting a stalking protection order

How do I get a stalking protection order?

There are two ways to get a stalking protection order:

  1. The Police Citation Route
  2. The Court Order Route

It is important to know that the person filing the complaint (victim) is the “petitioner.” The person against whom you are making the complaint (the stalker) is the “respondent.”

How does the Police Citation Route work?

The police can issue a citation telling the stalker when and where to appear in court.

Step 1: Get the form. Go to any law enforcement agency for a stalking complaint (the police or sheriff should have a form). You can also find the form in the OR Legal Statutes section, in O.R.S. § 163.744(2), of this website.

Step 2: Fill out the form. On the form, you will need to give:

  • Your name and address as the victim (and the name and address of the person being stalked if it is different from yourself);
  • The stalker's name and address;
  • A physical description of the stalker;
  • A description of the conduct and the time frame in which it has occurred; and
  • The relationship, if any, between the victim and the stalker.

Step 3: Sign the complaint. The officer will then ask you to sign the complaint. By signing it, you are swearing that all the information is true and correct. Do not sign the application until you have shown it to an officer because the form may need to be notarized or signed in the presence of court personnel.

Step 4: Issuance of citation. If the officer believes that you are being stalked, s/he then issues a citation to the abuser (by serving the abuser), ordering him/her to appear in court within 3 days and tell his/her side of the story.

Step 5: Find out when the hearing will be held. The officer will notify you in writing of the place and time set for the hearing, so it is important to give your correct address to the officer when filing the complaint, or a safe address where you will check the mail for this information. During the 3 days before the hearing, you are protected by the officer’s citation.

Step 6: The hearing. You must be at the hearing either in person, or with the court's permission, by telephone (ask the officer who helps you fill out the order about this option). At the hearing, the judge may grant a temporary stalking order or a permanent order.

If the judge grants a temporary order, there will be a second hearing to determine whether to grant you a permanent order. Either you or your stalker can ask to postpone the hearing for up to 30 days, if more time is needed to prepare. If the court does postpone the hearing, a temporary order may be given to protect you until the second hearing.

Whether you go the Police Citation Route or the Court Order Route, the court will hold a hearing and decide whether a permanent stalking protection order should go into effect. In addition to ordering the stalker to stay away from you and from your or your family member’s home, the court can also order a stalker to have a mental health evaluation and to get mental health treatment.*  It does not cost anything to apply for a stalking order, and the sheriff will deliver (serve) the order for free.

* O.R.S. § 163.738(5)

How does the Court Route work?

Step 1: Go to the courthouse. You go to the circuit court and fill out a petition for a stalking protective order. This may be easier than the police citation route, depending on which county you live in. Some counties have free forms in the courthouse to fill out. If not, you will probably need some legal assistance to properly draft up the petition and file your complaint. See OR Finding a Lawyer for contact information to legal services organizations.

It is important to be as specific and as truthful as possible on the complaint form. Include the day, date, location, witnesses, specific conduct of the respondent and why that conduct makes you afraid for your safety.

Step 2: Meeting with a judge for a temporary order. Once you have filed your complaint, you will appear before a judge, who will ask questions about the incidents. If the judge determines that the requirements of the law have been met, s/he will issue a temporary stalking protection order that prohibits the respondent from further contact with you. At that time, the judge will schedule a second hearing at which a permanent stalking protection order may be issued. The abuser will have the right to attend this hearing to tell his/her side of the story.

Step 3: Service of Process. A sheriff serves the temporary stalking protection order on the respondent; the order is not enforceable until it has been served. At the end of the 30 days, the order expires unless it has been extended at the scheduled hearing.*

Step 4: The Hearing. It is strongly recommended that petitioners appear in person at this hearing, because some judges refuse to issue a second temporary order if the petitioner does not appear at the hearing. You may be allowed to testify at this hearing by telephone, if you request to do so.*

If the respondent fails to appear, the judge will issue an arrest warrant and grant the stalking protection order.**

Whether you go the Police Citation Route or the Court Order Route, the court will hold a hearing and decide whether a permanent stalking protection order should go into effect. In addition to ordering the stalker to stay away from you and from your or your family member’s home, the court can also order a stalker to have a mental health evaluation and to get mental health treatment.*** It does not cost anything to apply for a stalking order, and the sheriff will deliver (serve) the order for free.

* O.R.S. § 163.738(2)(a)
** O.R.S. § 163.738(1)(a)(G)
*** O.R.S. § 163.738(5)

After the hearing

What should I do if the stalker violates the stalking protection order?

If you believe that the abuser has violated the stalking protection order, you can immediately call 911. Tell the police about the violation. It is a crime to violate a stalking order* or restraining order. It is also a crime to assault, harass, threaten, stalk or menace someone. If the abuser commits one of these crimes while you have a stalking order, he can be arrested for committing the crime in addition to being arrested for violating the court order. The police are required to arrest the stalker/abuser if they have reason to believe that the order was violated. If the stalker or abuser is on parole or probation, you may also call their parole or probation office to report the violation.

Having a stalking protection order can help keep you safe, but it is also important to take other safety precautions. You will find helpful information on The Stalking Resources Center website. You can also contact a domestic violence organization in your area for additional help with safety planning and support.

* O.R.S. § 163.750(2)(a)

Sexual Abuse Protective Orders

A sexual abuse protective order ("SAPO") is a civil order that provides protection if someone who is not your family or household member sexually abuses or sexually assaults you.

Basic info and definitions

What is a sexual abuse protective order?

Similar to a restraining order to prevent abuse, a sexual abuse protective order ("SAPO") is a civil court order that can protect you if you are the victim of sexual abuse (including sexual assault, rape, sodomy) and you fear for your safety.  Unlike a restraining order to prevent abuse, to qualify for a sexual assault protective order you cannot have a family or household relationship with the abuser.*  Note: If you are the victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault and are in a family or household relationship with the abuser, you may qualify for a restraining order to prevent abuse.

* ORS § 163.763(1)

What is the legal definition of sexual abuse?

For the purpose of getting a sexual abuse protective order, sexual abuse is defined as any “sexual contact” with a person:

  • who does not consent to it; or
  • who is incapable (unable) to consent to the sexual contact because the victim is:
    • under 18 years of age;
    • “mentally defective,” which the law defines as suffering from a qualifying mental disorder that makes the victim unable to evaluate his/her own conduct;
    • mentally incapacitated, which the law defines as being unable to evaluate or control his/her own conduct; or
    • physically helpless, which the law defines as being unconscious or unable (for any other reason) to communicate his/her unwillingness to the sexual act.*

Sexual contact is when anyone touches your sexual or intimate parts or causes you to touch the sexual or other intimate parts of another person for the purpose of arousing or satisfying the sexual desire of either person.**  In addition to "touching" one's sexual or intimate parts, it would also include sexual assault, rape, sodomy, and forced oral sex.

Note: There could be some defenses to an accusation of sexual abuse related to the difference in age between the victim and due to other circumstances.***  You can read about these defenses here and here on our OR Statutes page.

* ORS §§ 163.760(2); 163.315; 163.305(2),(3),(5)
** ORS §§ 163.760(3); 163.305(6)
*** ORS §163.760(2)(b)

What types of sexual abuse protective orders are there? How long do they last?

There are two types of sexual abuse protective orders, described below.

Ex parte order
When you file a petition for a sexual abuse protective order in circuit court, the judge can hold an ex parte hearing in person or by telephone. Ex parte means that the abuser does not need to have prior notice of (or be present at) the hearing. If the judge finds that it is reasonable for a person in your situation to fear for your physical safety and that the sexual abuse occurred within the previous 180 days, the judge can issue a restraining order.*

When determining whether or not 180 days has passed since the sexual abuse occurred, the judge should not consider any time the abuser was in jail, any time that the abuser lived more than 100 miles away from your residence, and any time that the abuser was not allowed to contact you because of a different restraining order.*1

One-year order
The abuser has 30 days to request a hearing after s/he is served with the ex parte order. If the abuser requests a hearing, the court staff will notify you of the date and time of the hearing and give you a copy of the abuser’s request.*2 The hearing will be scheduled within 21 days of the abuser’s request. You may have to explain the incidents of sexual abuse to the judge, and the abuser will also have an opportunity to give the judge his/her testimony and evidence. At that hearing, the judge could change or dismiss the restraining order.*3 If the abuser fails to request a hearing at the end of the 30 days, the terms in your ex parte order remain in effect for one year.*4

* ORS § 163.765(1)
*1 ORS § 163.763(3),(1)(c)
*2 ORS § 163.765(6)(a),(b)
*3 ORS § 163.767(1)
*4 ORS § 163.765(7),(8)

Where can I file for a sexual abuse protective order?

You can file for a sexual abuse protective order in the circuit court in the county where either you or the abuser lives.*

* ORS § 163.763(2)(a)

How can a sexual abuse protective order help me?

If the judge finds that you are the victim of sexual abuse and that you fear for your physical safety, the order will state that the abuser must:

  • not contact you; and
  • not do (or attempt to do) any of the following: intimidate, molest, interfere with or menace (physically threaten) you.

At your request, the judge can also order:

  • that the abuser not contact your children, family members, or household members;
  • that the abuser not enter or attempt to enter your residence or come within an area around your residence;
  • that the abuser not intimidate, molest, interfere with, or menace your children and family or household members (or attempt to); and/or
  • anything else necessary for your safety and the safety or your children and family or household members.*

* ORS § 163.765(1)(a),(b)

Who is eligible for a sexual abuse protective order

Who can get a sexual abuse protective order?

You may be eligible for a sexual abuse protective order if you are the victim of sexual abuse and fear for your physical safety. Additionally, to qualify for a sexual abuse protective order, the following must also apply:

  • you and the abuser cannot be family or household members;
  • the abuser must be at least 18 years old;
  • there cannot currently be an existing restraining order or criminal court order prohibiting the abuser from contacting you; and
  • the sexual abuse must have happened within the previous 180 days (not counting any time that the abuser was in jail, lived more than 100 miles from you, or was prohibited from contacting you as part of a different restraining order).*

* ORS

§ 163.763(1),(2)(b),(3)

Can a minor file for a sexual abuse protective order?

Yes, as long as you are age 12 or older. You can file for a sexual abuse protective order without the appointment of a guardian ad litem if you are at least 12 years old. Your parent or lawful guardian can also file on your behalf if you are under the age of 18.*

* ORS § 163.763(2)(a)

Can I file for an order against a minor?

No. The respondent must be at least 18 years old for you to get a sexual abuse protective order against him/her.*

* ORS § 163.763(1)(b)

Getting the order

What are the steps involved with getting a sexual abuse protective order?

How much does a sexual abuse protective order cost?

There are no fees to file for a sexual abuse protective order or to have the abuser served with the paperwork by the sheriff. You also cannot be charged any court costs for the hearing.*

* ORS § 163.777(1)(a)

Will I have to face the abuser in court?

Possibly. The abuser has the right to request a hearing and challenge your ex parte sexual abuse protective order. If the abuser requests a hearing, you will receive notice of the time and date of the hearing.*

If there is going to be a hearing, you have the option of filing a request asking the judge to allow you to appear at the hearing (or to have a witness appear at the hearing) by telephone or some other two-way communication device instead of appearing in person. The judge will decide if there is good cause to allow you or your witness to appear by telephone and will consider whether or not the safety or welfare of you or your witness would be threatened by requiring you to appear in person.**

* ORS § 163.765(6)(a),(b)
** ORS § 163.770(1),(3)

After the hearing

Can a sexual abuse protective order be changed (modified)?

At any point beyond the first 30 days after the order is served, either party can request that the judge change the sexual abuse protective order if s/he can show the judge good cause for the change. You can also request that the judge remove certain terms from the order to have fewer restrictions on the abuser.*

* ORS §§ 163.775(2); 163.765(6)

Can I renew my sexual abuse protective order?

The judge can renew your sexual abuse protective order if the judge finds that it is reasonable for you to fear for your physical safety if the order were not renewed. You do not have to prove that the abuser has sexually abused you again. The judge can renew your order based on your petition (without a full hearing) if the judge finds that the facts in your petition support renewing the order. The respondent has the option to request a hearing after s/he is served with your renewed order.*

* ORS § 163.775(1)(a),(b)

Restraining Orders for the Elderly and Disabled

If you are an elderly or disabled person who is being abused, you may be able to apply for a restraining order by filing a civil action for abuse of the elderly or disabled. The order, which is technically called an Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Abuse Prevention Act order is often abbreviated as an "EPPDAPA."

Basic info and definitions

What is an Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Act order?

This type of order can be obtained as part of a civil action for abuse that can be filed to protect a person who is elderly or disabled and who is being abused. When you file the civil action, the judge can issue an order to prevent further abuse by separating you from the abuser, requiring the abuser to stay away from you, and protecting your financial resources from the abuser. The civil action can also be filed by your guardian or guardian ad litem. The technical name for the order is an Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Abuse Prevention Act order (often abbreviated as an "EPPDAPA.")

How can an Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Act order help an elderly or disabled person?

In a civil action for abuse, the judge can:

  • order the abuser to move out of a jointly owned or rented home (and that a peace officer accompany the abuser while s/he is removing personal property from the shared home);
  • order the abuser to stay away from any premises where the victim may be found;
  • order the abuser to stop abusing, intimidating, or molesting the victim;
  • order the abuser to return custody or control of the money or property of the victim;
  • prohibit the abuser from transferring the money or property of the victim to anyone; and/or
  • order the abuser to pay the victim’s legal fees.*

* O.R.S. §§ 124.020(1),(2); 124.015(2)(b)

What is the legal definition of “abuse” for purposes of getting an Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Act order?

For the purpose of this section, Oregon state law defines “abuse” as:

  • Physical injury or pain;
  • Neglect that leads to physical harm;
  • Abandonment;
  • Naming calling, harassment, threats, and inappropriate sexual comments that threaten the emotional or physical wellbeing of the victim;
  • Taking or threatening to take property or money rightfully belonging to the victim;
  • Sexual contact with an elderly or disabled person who is unable able to consent; or
  • Causing any sweepstakes promotions to be mailed an elderly or disabled person when that person spent over $500 on sweepstakes promotions the year before, and court assistance is needed to prevent the person from spending more money.*

* O.R.S. § 124.005(1)

What is the legal definition of "elderly"?

The legal definition of an elderly person is someone 65 years and older.*

* O.R.S .§ 124.005(3)

What is the legal definition of "disabled"?

For purposes of this restraining order, “a person with a disability” is defined as someone with a physical or mental disability who is eligible for Supplemental Security Income or for general assistance and meets one of the following:

  • has a developmental disability, or is mentally or emotionally disturbed and lives in or needs placement in a residential program;
  • is an alcohol or drug abuser and lives or needs placement in a residential program;
  • has another type of physical or mental disability; or
  • is experiencing a brain injury for a long enough time to affect that person's ability to perform activities of daily living.*

* O.R.S. §§ 124.005(9); 410.040(7); 410.715

Who can file for an Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Act order

Who is eligible to file an Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Act order?

Any person who is elderly (65 or older) or a person of any age with a disability who has been the victim of abuse within the last 180 days is eligible.  Also, a guardian or guardian ad litem of the abused person may petition for an order if the abused person is in immediate and present danger of further abuse.*  There are no relationship requirements between the victim and abuser; the abuser can be anyone who is abusing an elderly or disabled person.**

Note: Any time during which the abuser is incarcerated or lives more than 100 miles from the victim is not counted as part of the 180-day period.***

* O.R.S. § 124.010(1)(a)
** O.R.S. § 124.010(1)(c)
*** O.R.S. § 124.010(6)

How long does the Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Act order last?

A order can last for 1 year, or until it is changed by the court or withdrawn by the person who filed it.*

* O.R.S. § 124.020(1)

My guardian filed an action on my behalf without my agreement. Is there anything I can do?

If your guardian filed for a petition an Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Abuse Prevention Act ("EPPDAPA") order without your consent, you can try to fight against the action by doing any or all of the following:

  • Get a lawyer;
  • Request a copy of your personal records;
  • File legal objections to it; and
  • Request a hearing; and present witnesses and evidence at the hearing.*

To find a lawyer in your area, go to our OR Finding a Lawyer page.

* O.R.S. § 124.010(7)

Can the Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Act order be renewed?

Yes. A judge can renew the order even if there has not been a further act of abuse.*

* O.R.S. § 124.035

How much does it cost to file for an order?

Nothing. There is no fee to file.*

* O.R.S. § 124.020(7)(d)

Steps involved in filing for an Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Act order

Step 1: Go to the courthouse.

You can file for an Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Abuse Prevention Act order ("EPPDAPA") at the circuit court in either the county where the abused person (petitioner) lives, or the county where the abuser (respondent) lives.*

* O.R.S. § 124.012

Step 2: Fill out the forms.

You can ask the court clerk for the forms needed to file a civil action against abuse (an Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Abuse Prevention Act order) or go to the Oregon Courts website.

When you will out the forms, you will need to:

  • show that the victim is in immediate and present danger of further abuse from the respondent;
  • show that the person has been the victim of abuse committed by the respondent within the last 180 days (minus any days that the abuser was in prison or lived at least 100 miles away); and
  • describe the nature of the abuse and the approximate dates when the abuse happened.*

Note: When you file the petition, the clerk should give you information provided by the Department of Human Services about local adult protective services, domestic violence shelters and local legal services available.** If you do not receive this, be sure to ask for it.

* O.R.S. § 124.010(1)(b)
** O.R.S. § 124.010(5)

Step 3: Ex parte hearing

When a petitioner or guardian-petitioner files a petition for an Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Abuse Prevention Act order ("EPPDAPA"), the court will hold an ex parte hearing (without the abuser present) in person or by telephone on the day the petition is filed or on the following business day.*

If the judge decides that the victim needs immediate protection, s/he will grant an ex parte order. See How can an Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Act order help an elderly or disabled person? for more information.

* O.R.S. § 124.020(1)

Step 4: Service of process

For the Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Act order to be enforceable, the respondent must receive notice that a petition for the action has been filed. When the judge grants the order, the court clerk will provide, without charge, the copies of the petition and order necessary to serve the respondent.* The county sheriff will serve the respondent personally.** Do not serve the respondent yourself.

Once the respondent has been served, s/he has the right to request a hearing where s/he will be able to tell his/her side of the story. The petitioner also has the right to request a hearing once the respondent has been served. In either case, the hearing must be requested within 30 days.*** You can get the hearing request form from the court clerk.

The court will hold a hearing within 21 days following the request.****

* O.R.S. § 124.020(7)(a)
** O.R.S. § 124.020(7)(b)
*** O.R.S. § 124.020(9)
**** O.R.S. § 124.015(1)

Step 5: The hearing

If a hearing is requested by either party, both parties have the right to attend the hearing.  The purpose of this hearing is for the judge to determine if the terms of the court's temporary (ex parte) order should be canceled, changed or extended to become a permanent order good for up to 1 year.*

If the respondent has an attorney at the hearing, the hearing may be extended for up to five days at the request of the petitioner so that the petitioner can find representation.**  To find a lawyer in your area, click on OR Finding a Lawyer page.

For more information on how to get ready for the hearing, see our Preparing Your Case page.

* O.R.S. § 124.020(6); Oregon Court Form: Notice to Respondent (Elderly Persons and Persons With Disabilities Abuse Prevention Act)
** O.R.S. § 124.015(3)(b)

Extreme Risk Protection Orders

An extreme risk protection order is a civil court order that keeps a person (called the respondent) from having or getting firearms. The respondent must be a person who is at risk of hurting another person or of committing suicide. You can file for an extreme risk protection order if you are the respondent’s family member, household member, or intimate partner. Law enforcement officers can also apply for extreme risk protection orders.

We will be adding more information about the extreme risk protection order requirements and court process soon. For now, you can read more and find the forms to file for an order on Oregon’s court website.

Moving to Another State with an Oregon Restraining Order

If you are moving within Oregon, moving to another state, or visiting another state for a little while, your restraining order can be enforceable.

General rules

Can I get my restraining order from Oregon enforced in another state?

Yes. If you have a valid Oregon restraining order that meets federal standards, it can be enforced in another state. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which is a federal law, states that all valid restraining orders granted in the United States receive "full faith and credit" in all state and tribal courts within the US, including US territories. See How do I know if my restraining order is good under federal law? to find out if your restraining order qualifies.

Each state must enforce out-of-state restraining orders in the same way it enforces its own orders. Meaning, if your abuser violates your out-of-state restraining order, s/he will be punished according to the laws of whatever state you are in when the order is violated. This is what is meant by "full faith and credit."

How do I know if my restraining order is good under federal law?

A restraining order is good anywhere in the United States as long as:

  • It was issued to prevent violent or threatening acts, harassing behavior, sexual violence, or it was issued to prevent another person from coming near you or contacting you.*
  • The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case. (In other words, the court had the authority to hear the case.)
  • The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story.
    •  In the case of ex parte temporary and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and have an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story at a hearing that is scheduled before the temporary order expires.**

Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

* 18 U.S.C. § 2266(5)
** 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a) & (b)

I have a temporary ex parte restraining order. Can it be enforced in another state?

Yes. An ex parte temporary order can be enforced in other states as long as it meets the requirements listed in How do I know if my restraining order is good under federal law?*

Note: The state where you are going generally cannot extend your ex parte temporary order or issue you a permanent order when the temporary one expires. If you need to extend your temporary order, you will have to contact the state that issued the order and arrange to be at the hearing in person or by telephone (if that is an option offered by the court). Oregon law allows you to request to appear by phone, instead of having to be there in person.** However, you may be able to reapply for one in the new state that you are moving to if you meet the requirements for getting a protective order in that state – but, if you apply for one in a new state, the abuser would know what state you are living in, which may put you in danger.

* 18 U.S.C. § 2265(b)(2)
** O.R.S. §107.718(1)

Getting your Oregon restraining order enforced in another state

How do I get my restraining order enforced in another state?

Federal law does not require you to take any special steps to get your restraining order enforced in another state.

Many states do have laws or regulations (rules) about registering or filing of out-of-state orders, which can make enforcement easier, but a valid restraining order is enforceable regardless of whether it has been registered or filed in the new state.* Rules differ from state to state, so it may be helpful to find out what the rules are in your new state. You can contact a local domestic violence organization for more information by visiting our Advocates and Shelters page and entering your new state in the drop-down menu.

Note: It is important to keep a copy of your restraining order with you at all times. It is also a good idea to know the rules of states you will be living in or visiting to ensure that your out-of-state order can be enforced in a timely manner. To learn more, read the "Enforcing an Out-of-State Order" section in the state where you have moved.

* 18 U.S.C. § 2265(d)(2)

Do I need anything special to get my restraining order enforced in another state?

In some states, you will need a certified copy of your restraining order. A certified copy says that it is a "true and correct" copy; it is signed and initialed by the clerk of court that gave you the order, and usually has some kind of court stamp on it.

If your copy is not a certified copy, call or go to the court that gave you the order and ask the clerk's office for a certified copy. There is no fee to get a certified copy of an OR restraining order.

Note: It is a good idea to keep a copy of the order with you at all times. You will also want to bring several copies of the order with you when you move. You might want to leave copies of the order at your work place, at your home, at the children's school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on. You can give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work along with a photo of the abuser. You can also give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.

Can I get someone to help me? Do I need a lawyer?

You do not need a lawyer to get your restraining order enforced in another state.

However, you may want to get help from a local domestic violence advocate or attorney in the state that you move to.  A domestic violence advocate can let you know what the advantages and disadvantages are for registering your restraining order, and help you through the process if you decide to do so.

To find a domestic violence advocate or an attorney in the state you are moving to, select your state from the Places that Help tab on the top of this page and then click Advocates and Shelters.

Do I need to tell the court in Oregon if I move?

Yes. The court that gave you your restraining order needs to have an up-to-date mailing address for you at all times so they can communicate with you if anything happens to your restraining order - for example, if your abuser asks the court to dismiss the order or if your order is changed in any way.

If you won't be getting mail at your old address, you need to give the court a mailing address and a contact phone number. If you feel unsafe giving your new address, you can use the address of a trusted friend or a P.O. Box instead. The change of address form that you will need to fill out is available online or at the courthouse.

Remember, if you want to keep your new address confidential, be sure to tell this to the court clerk and ask that your address not be made public to the abuser.

Enforcing custody provisions in another state

I was granted temporary custody with my restraining order. Can I take my kids out of the state?

Maybe. It will depend on the exact wording of the custody provision in your restraining order. You may have to first seek the permission of the court before leaving. If the abuser was granted visitation rights with your children, then you may have to have the order changed, or show the court that there is a fair and realistic alternative to the current visitation schedule.

If you are unsure about whether or not you can take your kids out of the state, it is important to talk to a domestic violence advocate or lawyer who understands domestic violence and custody laws, and can help you make the safest decision for you and your children. You can find contact information for local domestic violence organizations and legal assistance in Oregon on our OR Places that Help page.

I was granted temporary custody with my restraining order. Will another state enforce this custody order?

Yes. Custody, visitation, and child support provisions that are included in a restraining order can be enforced across state lines. Law enforcement and courts in another state are required by federal law to enforce these provisions.*

* 18 USC §2266

Enforcing Your Out-Of-State Order in Oregon

If you are planning to move to OR or are going to be in OR for any reason, your protection or restraining order can be enforced.

General rules

Can I get my restraining order enforced in Oregon? What are the requirements?

Yes. Your restraining order can be enforced in Oregon as long as:

  • It was issued to prevent violent or threatening acts, harassing behavior, sexual violence, or it was issued to prevent another person from coming near you or contacting you.*
  • The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case. (In other words, the court had the authority to hear the case.)
  • The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story.
    • In the case of ex parte temporary and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and have an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story at a hearing that is scheduled before the temporary order expires.**

Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

* 18 U.S.C. § 2266(5)
** 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a) & (b)

Can I have my out-of-state restraining order changed, extended, or canceled in Oregon?

No. Only the state that issued your restraining order can change, extend, or cancel the order. You cannot have this done by a court in Oregon.

To have your order changed, extended, or canceled, you will have to file a motion or petition in the court where the order was issued. You may be able to request that you attend the court hearing by telephone rather than in person, so that you do not need to return to the state where the abuser is living. You will need to contact the clerk of court in your area to find out if this is possible. To find out more information about how to modify a restraining order, see the "Restraining Order" page, under the Know the Laws tab, for the state where your order was issued.

If your order does expire while you are living in Oregon, you may be able to get a new one issued in Oregon but this may be difficult to do if no new incidents of abuse have occurred while you have been in Oregon. To find out more information on how to get a restraining order in Oregon, visit our OR Restraining Order page. You can also contact a domestic violence organization in Oregon for help with filing a restraining order. See OR Advocates and Shelters.

I was granted temporary custody with my out-of-state restraining order. Will I still have temporary custody of my children in Oregon?

Yes. As long as the child custody provision complies with certain federal laws,* Oregon can enforce a temporary custody order that is a part of a protection order.

To have someone read over your order and tell you if it meets these standards, contact a lawyer in your area. To find a lawyer in your area click here OR Finding a Lawyer.

* The federal laws are the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) or the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), and the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1980.

Registering your out-of-state restraining order in Oregon

What is the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Registry? Who has access to it?

The National Crime Information Center Registry (NCIC) is a nationwide, electronic database that contains restraining order information that is used by law enforcement agencies in the U.S, Canada, and Puerto Rico. NCIC is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials.

All law enforcement officials have access to it, but the information is encrypted so outsiders cannot access it.

How do I register my restraining order in Oregon?

If you decide to register your order, you will need to present a certified copy of the order to a county sheriff. In Oregon, a certified copy will have two stamps and will be signed and dated. The sheriff will then enter your order into the Law Enforcement Data System, which is maintained by the Department of State Police and the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). The order must be the most recent order in effect between you and the abuser and you must provide proof of service or other written certification that the abuser has been personally served with a copy of the order or has actual notice of the order.*

*18 USC 2265(d)(2); O.R.S. § 24.190(3)(a) & (c)

Do I have to register my restraining order in Oregon in order to get it enforced?

Neither Oregon state law nor federal law requires you to register your restraining order to have it enforced.* However, there may be a benefit to having it registered. If your restraining order is registered in Oregon, it is easier for law enforcement officials to verify that your order is valid. When police officers arrive on a scene, they generally check to see if your restraining order is registered in the state's registry. If it is not listed in the state registry, the police officer will have to look through the national registry or call the court where the order was issued. This takes longer and it could mean that your restraining order is not enforced right away.

* 18 USC § 2265; O.R.S. § 24.190(2)(a)

Will the abuser be notified if I register my restraining order?

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which applies to all U.S. states and territories, the court is not permitted to notify the abuser when a protective order has been registered or filed in a new state unless you specifically request that the abuser be notified.*  However, you may wish to confirm that the clerk is aware of this law before registering the order if your address is confidential.

However, remember that there may be a possibility that the abuser could somehow find out what state you have moved to.  It is important to continue to safety plan, even if you are no longer in the state where the abuser is living.  We have some safety planning tips to get you started on our Safety Tips page.  You can also contact a local domestic violence organization to get help in developing a personalized safety plan. You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our OR Advocates and Shelters page.

* 18 USC § 2265(d)

What if I don't register my restraining order? Will it be more difficult to have it enforced?

Maybe. While neither federal law nor state law requires that you register your restraining order in order to get it enforced, if your order is not entered into the state registry, it may be more difficult for an Oregon law enforcement official to determine whether your order is real. Therefore, it could take longer to get your order enforced.

If you are unsure about whether registering your order is the right decision for you, you may want to contact a local domestic violence organization in your area. An advocate there can help you decide what the safest plan of action is for you in Oregon. To see a list of local domestic violence organizations in Oregon, go to our OR Advocates and Shelters page.

Does it cost anything to register my restraining order?

No. There is no fee for registering your restraining order in Oregon.*

* O.R.S. § 24.190(6)