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About Abuse

Information for Teens and Young Adults

Updated: 
September 3, 2019

What is a restraining order, and what does it do?

A restraining order, also known as a protective order, order of protection, or many other names, is a court order that a victim can get for free. Sometimes, a minor can even file for a restraining order without involving his/her parents but this will depend on the laws of each state. A judge can generally issue a restraining order against an abusive partner or ex-partner and require him/her to stop abusing you. The order may also state that your partner cannot contact you, has to stay away from you, and may include many other protections, such as forcing the abuser to switch schools if you attend the same school. Please see our Restraining Orders pages for your state to find out how to apply for an order in your state.

The requirements for getting a restraining order, exactly what protections you can get from a restraining order, and how “abuse” is defined are different in each state. In addition, as mentioned above, not all states allow minors to get a restraining order on their own without an adult’s help. If you’re under 18 and need a restraining order, please see Am I eligible for a restraining order even though I am under 18?