I received an email last week that posed an interesting question: Can teenagers obtain protection orders in America? It is hard to imagine our teen sons and daughters being in domestic violent relationships but it occurs more then we know. Teens are very unlikely to report dating violence to police and/or their parents. I searched many websites to see what states allowed teens to get protection orders and if they need their parents to obtain it.
Each state has certain stipulations you most adhere to or certain criteria that has to be met in order to get a civil protection order. Some states do not cover dating relationships, only if you are married or living with the abuser. If one can not be obtain, you may look into filing for a restraining order under harassment and stalking laws.
Here is what I found.
There are 33 states and the District of Columbia that allow dating violence as a cause for a protection order. These states are:
15. New Mexico
21. West Virginia
23. North Carolina
26. New Hampshire
28. Rhode Island
30. North Dakota
31. New Jersey
There are 19 states in which teens can file without an adult. There are:
12. New Hampshire
14. New York
16. South Dakota
17. New Jersey
The person filing the restraining order normally doesn’t have to pay anything to file the order. The abuser is made to pay it in their court fees. The length of a protection order varies by state. For instance, in Kansas a protection order is good for only 2 months but in Ohio, where I live, it is up to 5 years. You can request the order to be renewed or extended.
For more information, do a search for your state website. Protection orders are handled through civil or domestic courts. To read about the process I went through to get a protection order that led to my abuser being removed from my home by the police, I wrote this article.