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