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Legal Information: District of Columbia

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of April 5, 2024

Step 1: Get the necessary forms.

After the abuse occurs, you can get the necessary paperwork to request a civil protection order (CPO) and fill it out in a few ways.

You can file for a CPO at the Domestic Violence Clerk, D.C. Superior Court (Moultrie Courthouse), Room 4510, 500 Indiana Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20001.

You can also file for a CPO online by filling out a petition and emailing it to the Domestic Violence Clerk at DVDatdcsc.gov.1 Fillable forms are available on the D.C. Courts website.

If you are filing based on intimate partner violence or sexual assault, you may be able to have an advocate assist you in filling out the petition and provide other support services at one of D.C.’s Domestic Violence Intake Centers (DVICs). The DVICs are located at:

  • D.C. Superior Court (Moultrie Courthouse), Room 4550, 500 Indiana Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20001; and
  • The Anacostia Professional Building, Room 400, 2041 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE, Washington, D.C. 20020.1

You can file up to three years after the incident,2 but a delay in filing may make the judge less likely to believe that you are in danger and need the court’s protection. 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.

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.3 You must ask for a temporary protection order the same day you file for a civil protection order.

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