What should I do when I leave the courthouse?
Here are some things you may want to consider doing. However, you will have to evaluate each one to see if it works for your situation.
- Review the protection order before you leave the courthouse. If something is wrong or missing, ask the clerk how to correct the order before you leave.
- Make several copies of the protection order as soon as possible.
- Keep a copy of the protection 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 of the order along with a picture of the respondent to security or the person at the front desk where you live and/or work.
- Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by 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 batterers 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 the following link for suggestions on Staying Safe. Advocates at local resource centers can also assist you in designing a safety plan and can provide other forms of support as well. To find resources in D.C., please see our D.C. Advocates and Shelters page.