Can the abuser have a gun?
Once you get a protection order, there may be laws that prohibit the respondent from having a gun in his/her possession. There are a few places where you can find this information:
- first, read the questions on this page to see if judges in Indiana have to power to remove guns as part of a temporary or final order;
- second, read our Firearms Seizure and Retention Law page to read about situations when law enforcement can remove firearms from dangerous individuals;
- third, go to our State Gun Laws section to read about your state’s specific gun-related laws; and
- fourth you can read our Federal Gun Laws section to understand the federal laws that apply to all states.
You can read more about keeping an abuser from accessing guns on the National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center’s website.
What should I do when I leave the courthouse?
Here are some ideas of what you can do:
- Make several copies of the order for protection as soon as possible.
- Keep a copy of the order with you at all times.
- Leave copies of the order at your workplace, at your home, at the children’s school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on.
- Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work along with a photo of the abuser.
- Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
- If the court has not given you an extra copy for your local law enforcement agency, take one of your extra copies and deliver it to them. One week after court, call your local law enforcement offices to make sure they have received copies of the order.
- Take steps to safety plan, including changing your locks (if permitted by law) and your phone number.
Ongoing safety planning is important after receiving the order. People can do a number of things to increase their safety during violent incidents, when preparing to leave an abusive relationship, and when they are at home, work, and school. Many abusers obey protective orders, but some do not. It is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe. Click on Safety Tips for suggestions. Advocates at local resource centers can assist you in designing a safety plan and can provide other forms of support; see Indiana Advocates and Shelters.
What can I do if the abuser violates the order?
You can call the police, even if you think it is a minor violation. A person who intentionally violates the protective order can be committing a misdemeanor. However, if the person has been previously convicted for a violation of the order, he may be guilty of a felony, which carries a greater punishment.1 It is also a good idea to write down the name of the responding officer(s) and their badge number in case you want to follow up on your case.
You can also file a petition for contempt in the courthouse where you got the order. For violating the order, the abuser can be held in “contempt of court” and punished by the judge. Additionally, if the judge believes that the abuser violated an order for protection, the court can:
- require a respondent to wear a GPS tracking device (with victim notification capabilities if available); and
- prohibit the respondent from approaching or entering certain locations where you may be found.2
1 IC § 35-46-1-15.1
2 IC § 34-26-5-9(j)
How do I change or extend an order for protection?
If you wish to modify (change) the order, you must go back to court and file a “petition to modify an order for protection.” You will have to explain to the judge what the substantial change in circumstances has been that makes this modification necessary and you will check off which additional protections you need. Some modifications will not require a hearing while others will.
If you wish to extend your final order beyond the expiration date, the judge may require evidence of a continuing need for the order. Ask the clerk what forms you need to file to do this - it is possible you may have to file a new petition and start the process over.
If you want to extend your order, it is best to start the petition process before your first order expires, so that you are not left unprotected.
If I move out of state, will my order still be valid?
Your order for protection can be enforced even if you move to another state. If you move, your order for protection must be given “full faith and credit” in any other U.S. state or territory; this means that your order can be good wherever you go.1 See Moving to Another State with an Order of Protection for more information.
Remember to take a certified copy of your order with you when you move.
If you are moving to a new state, you may want to call the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit (1-800-903-0111 x2) for information on enforcing your order in the new state.
1 See 18 U.S.C §§ 2265 and 2266