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

Legal Information: District of Columbia

Restraining Orders

View all
Laws current as of
April 5, 2024

Step 2: Fill out a petition for a civil protection order.

On the petition, you will be the “petitioner” and the abuser will be the “respondent.”

Write about the most recent incident of violence, using descriptive language - words like “slapping,” “hitting,” “grabbing,” “threatening,” “choking,” etc. - that fits your situation. Include details and dates, if possible. Be specific.

Be prepared that this process may take several hours. If your children are toilet-trained, they can stay in the courthouse daycare center while you file this petition if you file at the Domestic Violence Clerk’s office or the DVIC located in the court.1 If they are not toilet-trained or if you file through the DVIC located in the Anacostia Professional Building, you will have to keep them with you.

1 D.C. Courts website