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Know the Laws: Colorado

UPDATED September 18, 2017

Protection Orders for Stalking, Sexual Assault, Physical Harm/Threats, and Abuse of Elderly/At-Risk Adult

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This protection order is a civil order designed to stop violent, threatening, harassing, stalking or sexually abusive behavior and to protect you and your family members from an abuser.  You may be eligible for one even if you are not related to the abuser and not in an intimate relationship with him/her.

Who is eligible for a protection order against stalking, sexual assault, physical harm/threats or abuse of the elderly/at-risk adult?

back to topWhat are the steps for getting the protection order?

The steps for getting a protection order against stalking, sexual assault, physical harm/threats and abuse of elderly/at-risk adult are similar to the steps for getting a domestic violence protection order, which you can find on our Steps for getting a domestic violence protection order page.

Also, the forms that you will need to fill out can be found on the CO State Judicial Branch website.

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back to topWho can get a protection order? Can I get one against someone who is not my spouse, intimate partner, or relative?

Under Colorado law, you may be eligible for a protection order against someone you are not in a relationship with and not related to if that person has:

  • stalked you,
  • sexually assaulted you,
  • made “unlawful sexual contact” with you,
  • physically assaulted you,
  • threatened you with physical harm, or
  • threatened or harmed an animal owned by your or by your children (if you are an elderly or at-risk adult).*
Note: If you are at least 60 years old OR mentally or physically incapacitated, verbal abuse or wrongful confinement can also be reasons for a protection order. See What is the legal definition of abuse of an elderly or at-risk adult? for more information.

* Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-14-104.5(1)(a); 13-14-101(1)

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back to topCan a minor file for a protection order?

It is not clear according to Colorado law if a minor can file for his/her own order without a parent.  For minors under 18, a parent or guardian can file for the protection order.*  If a parent or guardian is not available, it may be possible to have someone else apply on the minor’s behalf but you may want to check your court’s clerk’s office to make sure they would accept a petition brought by an adult who is not the parent or guardian.  You may want to contact a legal services organization or a court clerk for more information on minors requesting protection orders.  See CO Finding a Lawyer and CO Courthouse Locations for contact information.

Note: You cannot get a protective order against someone who is under 10 years old.**

* Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-101(2.2); see Colorado Rules of County Court Civil Procedure Rule 317(C)
** Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-104.5(1)(a)

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back to topHow much does it cost to get a protection order?

The filing fees for civil court petitions are listed on the Colorado State Judicial Branch website here.   However, there can be no fee charged when the person seeking a protection order is a victim of domestic abuse, stalking, sexual assault or sexual abuse -- in those cases, it is free.*  If you are required to pay a filing fee but are unable to afford it, you may apply to have the fee waived.  You will have to complete a “Motion to File Without Payment and Supporting Financial Affidavit.”  You can download the form here. The guidelines for determining if you qualify for a fee waiver are based on your income and can be found in the Colorado State Judicial Branch's “Guide for Determining Indigency.”

* Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-109(1)

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back to topDo I need a lawyer?

No, you do not need a lawyer to file for a protection order, but it may be better to have one.  If the abuser has a lawyer, you should try to get one too.  Even if the abuser does not have a lawyer, it is recommended that you contact a lawyer to make sure that your legal rights are protected.

Depending on the details of your situation, domestic violence organizations in your area (if appropriate) and/or court staff may be able to answer some of your questions or help you fill out the necessary court forms.  You will find information on legal assistance and domestic violence organizations on the CO Where to Find Help page.  You will find contact information for courthouses on the CO Courthouse Locations page.

For more information, you can also write to our Email Hotline.  We cannot represent you in court or give you legal advice, but we may be able to answer some of your questions.

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back to topI am an employer of an abuse victim. How can I protect my business from the abuser?

Colorado law authorizes an employer to apply for a protection order in the name of the business if the employer believes that the employees or customers are in immediate danger from the abuser* (for example, the employee is being stalked and the stalker comes to the workplace, scaring the employee and others).   If the judge or magistrate finds that the employees or customers of a business are in immediate danger, s/he can grant the order to keep the abuser away from the business.* 

* Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-104.5(7)(b)

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WomensLaw.org thanks Andrea, CourtWatch Coordinator at Project Safeguard, for her helpful revisions on these pages.

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