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Legal Information: District of Columbia

Restraining Orders

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October 29, 2020

Who can get a civil protection order?

You may be eligible for a civil protection order if someone described in the list below commits or threatens to commit any crime against you:1

  • someone to whom you are or were married, with whom you are/were in a domestic partnership, or in a romantic, dating, or sexual relationship;
  • someone related to you by blood, adoption, legal custody, marriage, or domestic partnership (i.e., your brother or your father-in-law);
  • someone with whom you have a child in common;
  • someone with whom you share(d) a home (i.e., a roommate);
  • someone who is/ was in an intimate relationship with the same person that you are/were in an intimate relationship with (e.g., you are dating Jane and Jane’s ex-husband assaults you).2

Note:  You can also file against anyone who stalks, sexually assaults, or sexually abuses you even if the relationship between you and the offender does not fall into one of the above categories.3

If you are unable to file a petition by yourself or, in the case of certain minors, if you are unable to file for one with the assistance of a parent, guardian, custodian, or other appropriate adult, the Attorney General may file the petition on your behalf.  To get the Attorney General to do this, you, your representative, or a government agency must make this request to the Attorney General.  If the Attorney General files on your behalf, the Attorney General actually represents the interests of the District of Columbia and not specifically your particular interests.4  You are not even legally required to be at the court dates.5

1 D.C. Code § 16-1003(a)
2 D.C. Code § 16-1001(6)-(9)
3 D.C. Code § 16-1001(12)
4 D.C. Code § 16-1003(c)
5 D.C. Code § 16-1005(a-1)(1)