Guest Author - Jeanette Stingley
It seems each state has different names for a restraining order and even different categories of restraining orders. There are Temporary Protection Orders (TPO), Protection from Domestic Abuse Orders (PDAO) just to name a few. In some states, a police officer has to request one from the courts for you and in other states, such as Ohio (where I live), you have to go to the court to seek one out for yourself. To begin the process of obtaining some kind of protection with the court system talk to a police officer. In this article, I will describe to you the steps I took in order to obtain my TPO that led to a Domestic Violence Protection Order.
Like I stated above, the first step I took in obtaining legal protection was approaching a police officer. My intention of talking to him was to see how I could get my husband out of our apartment after an extremely violent weekend. I was told that in our state, if his name is on the lease, he has every right to be there but if he was being abusive and I feared for my or my children’s safety, I could go to the courthouse and file a request for domestic violence protection. He told me that if a judge thought we were in immediate danger, I would be granted a protection order and the county sheriff’s department would put him out of the apartment.
I had a friend take me to the courthouse. I was very nervous and questioned myself the whole ride there if this was what I really wanted to do. I was grateful to have a friend push me to do this. The paperwork was tedious. There were 5 or 6 pages I had to fill out and I had to be open, honest, and forthcoming with everything that was happening in order to get the help I needed. There was a section where I had to describe the most recent occurrences of abuse and violence. This was really hard to do because I felt everyone who read this would judge me harshly.
After filling out all the necessary paperwork, showing proof of residency, identification for myself and my children, I was told I could see a magistrate that day in about three hours to have my case heard. I was shocked at this because I thought it would take days for this to happen. I went to tell the magistrate basically what was in the paperwork I filled out. I also recounted several instances of abuse that happened over the course of the years I was with him. Of course, the magistrate asked why I didn’t involve the police. He did bring up the 3 reports on his computer of when I did involve the police. I believed this helped my winning the protection order. It was hard to retell to a total stranger what had been going on behind closed doors for years but I knew I was one step closer to being free from my abuser.
I was granted the protection order and was informed that the county sheriff’s office would be at my house within 24 hours to serve the notice for him to leave. I was warned that I had to carry this protection order with me wherever I went or else if he approached me, he couldn’t be arrested for violating it. I was also told that if I let him back in and something happened, I could also be arrested for violating it.
He was removed the next afternoon when I wasn’t home. He violated it twice by coming back. The second violation landed him 15 days in jail. My children and I have been free ever since and our protection order is good for 5 years.
For more information on obtaining a restraining order in your city, county, or state, contact your local law enforcement agency. They will help you find the information you need to protect yourself and your family.