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Know the Laws: Ohio

UPDATED October 24, 2014

Stalking or Sexually Oriented Offense Protection Orders

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An SSOOPO is a civil order designed to protect you from someone from harming, attempting to harm, threatening, following, stalking, harassing, contacting, or forcing sexual relations upon you.

Basic info

back to topWhat is a stalking or sexually oriented offense protection order and how long does it last?

A stalking or sexually oriented offense protection order ("SSOOPO") is designed to protect you, your family and household members from someone who has stalked you or committed sexually oriented offense against you.*  Like domestic violence protective orders, there are temporary and final SSOOPOs.  A temporary order may be granted by a judge if s/he believes that it is necessary for your safety and protection or that you are in immediate and present danger.  The temporary order lasts for 10 days or until the full court hearing.**

A final SSOOPO can be granted only after a full court hearing where the victim and abuser both get a chance to present evidence, witnesses and testimony.  If granted, a final order may last for up to 5 years and may be renewed after that time.***

* Ohio Rev. Code § 2903.214(C)(1)
** Ohio Rev. Code § 2903.214(D)(1) & (2)(a)
*** Ohio Rev. Code § 2903.214(E)(2)(a) & (b)

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back to topWhat does stalking mean? What is a sexually oriented offense?

To get an SSOOPO, you must show that the abuser (known as the “respondent” in court) has committed acts that would come under the crime of menacing by stalking or that the respondent committed a sexually oriented offense against you.  It does not matter if the respondent was ever charged with either or these crimes or not as long as s/he has committed one of the acts described in these crimes.* 

You can read the definition of menacing by stalking on our OH statutes page (see sections (A)(1) and (A)(2)).

The definition of a sexually oriented offense is when someone commits or attempts to commit an act that comes under one of these crimes (even if the person was not arrested for it):

* Ohio Rev. Code § 2903.214(C)(1)
** Ohio Rev. Code § 2950.01(A)

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back to topWho can get a stalking or sexually oriented offense protection order? Where is the petition filed?

You may apply for a stalking or sexually oriented offense protection order (SSOOPO) against anyone who has committed stalking or a sexually oriented offense against you, regardless of your relationship to the person.*   You do not have to know the person or be related to the person.

To file for an SSOOPO against someone 18 or older,* you would file your petition in the court of common pleas (in the general division) in the county in which you live.  If you are filing against someone under 18, you would file in the juvenile court.**

* Ohio Rev. Code 2903.214(C)
** see Ohio Rev. Code 2903.214(C)(1) and the Ohio Legal Services website

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back to topHow can a stalking or sexually oriented offense protection order help me?

A stalking or sexually oriented offense protection order (SSOOPO) offers some different protections than a domestic violence civil protection order.

All SSOOPOs prohibit the stalker or sexual offender from doing the following things to you:

  • harming or attempting to harm,
  • threatening,
  • following,
  • stalking,
  • harassing,
  • contacting, or
  • forcing sexual relations.*

The order can also:

  • prohibit the abuser from entering your home, school, business, or place of employment or that of any of your family or household members;**
  • order that the respondent wear electronic monitoring, as long as you include in your petition:
    • that at any time before you filed the petition, the respondent engaged in conduct that would cause a "reasonable person" to believe that her health, welfare, or safety was at risk,
    • a description of the nature and extent of that conduct, and
    • that the respondent presents a continuing danger to you;***
  • require the abuser to stay a certain number of blocks or yards away from you,
  • prohibit the abuser from shutting off any utilities or removing or damaging any of your property or pets, canceling any insurance or health benefits, interfering with your phone service or mail delivery.*

However, an SSOOPO, unlike a domestic violence protection order, may not include any requirements concerning spousal support, child support, child custody or visitation, or the use or possession of personal property or motor vehicles.*

* See Ohio Legal Services website
** Ohio Rev. Code § 2903.214(E)(1)(a)
*** Ohio Rev. Code § 2903.214(C)(2)

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