WomensLaw serves and supports all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.

About Abuse


Updated: October 12, 2018

Can I get a restraining order against my same-sex partner?

One tool that can be helpful when any victim is trying to escape from domestic violence is a restraining order (also known as a protection order, injunction, etc.). A restraining order can provide many forms of protection and can order an abuser to:

  • stop all contact with you;
  • stay away from you;
  • leave your home; and
  • do (or not do) other things ordered by the judge to keep you safe.

All but two states allow an unmarried victim in an abusive LGBTQ relationship to get a restraining order. In North Carolina and South Carolina, unmarried victims of abuse may only file for a protection order based on domestic violence against abusers of the opposite sex.

You can find more information for North Carolina at Can I get a DVPO against a same-sex partner?

You can find more information for South Carolina at Can I get an order for protection against a same-sex partner?

In every other state, laws about restraining orders are written to be gender-neutral or inclusive of same-sex partners. In other words, the law doesn’t refer to the gender of the parties involved, or specifically includes same-sex couples.

To see what the law says in your state, go to our Restraining Orders page and enter your state in the drop-down menu. Then look for a question with a title similar to “Can I get a restraining order against a same-sex partner?”

You can find information about LGBTQIA victims of abuse and what types of barriers they may face on our LGBTQIA Victims page.