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Legal Information: District of Columbia

Restraining Orders

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October 29, 2020

Step 1: Go to one of the Domestic Violence Intake Centers.

After the abuse occurs, go to one of the Domestic Violence Intake Centers (DVICs) as soon as possible after an incident occurs. (Note: You can file for a civil protection order in D.C. if you live, work, or go to school in D.C., if you are under the legal custody of a government agency in D.C., or if the incident(s) contained in the petition occurred in D.C.)1

The DVICs are located at:

  • D.C. Superior Court (Moultrie Courthouse), Room 4550, 500 Indiana Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20001; and
  • United Medical Center (formerly Greater Southeast Hospital), 1328 Southern Avenue, S.E., Room 311, Washington, D.C. 20032.2

You can file up to three years after the incident,3 but a delay in filing may make the judge less likely to believe you. If the Intake Center staff cannot help you because of a conflict of interest (e.g., they already helped the respondent in the past), you will be provided with all of the necessary forms to fill out yourself. Note: If you are filing for a civil protection order due to sexual assault or stalking by a stranger or filing agianst a family member, it is possible that you might not qualify for help through the DVIC; however, you can still file for the civil protection order on your own with the clerk’s office.

Tell the intake counselor that you want to file for a civil protection order. If you are in immediate danger, tell the intake counselor you also want to file a temporary protection order (TPO). The temporary protection order lasts for up to 14 days, or until your hearing for the final civil protection order.4 You must file for a temporary protection order the same day you file for a civil protection order.

1 D.C. Code § 16-1006
2D.C. Superior Court website
3 See D.C. Code § 12-301(8)
4 D.C. Code § 16-1004(b)