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Know the Laws: Kentucky

UPDATED September 21, 2017

Interpersonal Protective Orders

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An interpersonal protective order provides protection for victims of dating violence/abuse against a current or former dating partner.  In addition, they can also protect a victim of sexual assault or stalking regardless of whether or not you have ever dated the offender.   

Basic info and definitions

back to topWhat is an interpersonal protective order?

An interpersonal protective order is a civil court order that protects you from an abuser if you are a victim of:

However, if the person who has sexually assaulted or stalked you is a family member or an intimate partner with whom you live(d), have a child, or married, you would file for a protective order based on domestic violence instead.  Please see Protective Orders / Domestic Violence Orders for more information.

* KRS § 456.030(1)

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back to topWhat is the legal definition of dating violence and abuse, sexual assault, and stalking?

Dating violence and abuse means any of the following if the behavior occurs between people who are in or have been in a dating relationship:

  • physical injury;
  • serious physical injury;
  • stalking;
  • sexual assault; or
  • putting someone in fear of immediate physical injury, serious physical injury, sexual abuse, or sexual assault.*

Sexual assault means an act of rape, sodomy, or sexual abuse in any degree (which you can find on our KY Statutes page - see Chapter 510) or incest.**  The sexual assault does not have to be committed by someone with whom you are (or have been) in a dating relationship.

Stalking is defined as the actions described in the crimes of stalking in the first degree or stalking in the second degree.***  The stalking does not have to be committed by someone with whom you are (or have been) in a dating relationship.

* KRS § 456.010(2)
** KRS § 456.010(6)
*** KRS § 456.010(7)

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back to topWhat types of interpersonal protective orders are there? How long do they last?

There are two types of interpersonal protective orders:

Temporary interpersonal protective orders
The judge will review your petition for an interpersonal protective order immediately after you file in court.*  If the judge finds that there is an immediate and present danger of dating violence and abuse, sexual assault, or stalking, the judge can issue an ex parte temporary interpersonal protective order.**  The judge will also schedule a hearing for a final interpersonal protective order within 14 days (assuming that the judge believes from reading your petition that dating violence and abuse, sexual assault, or stalking has occurred).*

Final interpersonal protective orders
A final interpersonal protective order can only be issued only after the abuser has an opportunity to attend a court hearing in which you and the abuser both have a chance to present evidence, witnesses, testimony, etc.  If after a hearing, the judge finds that dating violence and abuse, sexual assault, or stalking has occurred, the judge can issue a final interpersonal protective order that can last up to three years.***  The order may also be renewed – see Can an order be extended? for more information.

* KRS § 456.040(1)(a)
** KRS § 456.040(2)(a)
*** KRS § 456.060(1),(3)

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back to topHow can an interpersonal protective order help me?

In a temporary or final interpersonal protective order, the judge can order that the abuser not:

  • commit any acts of dating violence and abuse, stalking, or sexual assault;
  • contact you or any other person identified by the judge;
  • throw away or damage any of your property;
  • come within 500 feet of you and any other person identified in the order; and/or
  • come within a specific distance of your home, school, workplace, or other place you go to frequently. (Note: When asking the judge to restrict the abuser from a place to which you frequently go, the judge will first hear testimony from you and the abuser about the location and only restrict the abuser from areas where there is a specific, definite danger to you or another person protected by the order.)*

The judge can also order any other conditions that s/he believes would prevent future acts of dating violence and abuse, stalking, or sexual assault, but the judge cannot order that you (the petitioner) do any particular actions.**  In dating violence and abuse cases, the judge can order that you and/or the abuser receive counseling services available in the community.***

* KRS § 456.060(1)(a),(2)(a),(b)
** KRS § 456.060(1)(b)
*** KRS § 456.060(1)(c)

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