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)