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Legal Information: Delaware

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of
March 26, 2024

What should I do when I leave the courthouse?

Here are some things that you may want to consider when you leave the courthouse. You will have to evaluate each one and decide if it is safe and appropriate for you to do.

  • Review the order before you leave the courthouse. If you see any errors, ask the clerk how to correct them.
  • 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 at your workplace, at your home, at your children’s school or daycare, in your car, with a trusted neighbor, and so on.
  • If you have a security guard or front desk person where you live or work, give him/her a copy of the order and a photo of the abuser.
  • Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
  • You may want to change your locks and phone number.

You may also want to make a safety plan. People can do 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 abusers obey protective orders, but some do not. So, it is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe. Go to our Safety Planning page for suggestions.

I was not granted a sexual violence protective order. What are my options?

The process for trying to appeal a denial of a sexual violence protective order is different if the decision was made by a commissioner or by a judge.

Orders entered by a commissioner may be appealed to a judge of the Superior Court by filing written objections to specific findings and recommendations the commissioner made. Objections from a commissioner’s orders must be filed with the Superior Court within ten days of the order. Then, a judge will make his/her own decision on the case. The judge may accept, reject, or modify, all or part of the findings or recommendations made by the commissioner. The judge may also request further evidence or send the case back to the commissioner with instructions on what to do next.1  

Orders entered by a Superior Court judge may be appealed to the Delaware Supreme Court. A notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days of the Superior Court judge’s order.2 We have general information about appealing an order to an appellate court on our Preparing for Court – By Yourself page.

1 10 Del.C. § 512(b)(1)d
2 10 Del.C. §§ 148; 7205(h)

Can I renew a sexual violence protective order?

The person who filed for the original order may request to renew a sexual violence protective order within three months before the order expires. The court will notify the abuser and hold a hearing where both parties can be present. The judge will grant the renewal if the petitioner proves that the abuser continues to pose a danger of causing him/her harm. A renewed sexual violence protective order lasts for up to three years.1

1 10 Del.C. § 7206(b)

What happens if the abuser violates the order?

Violating a sexual violence protective order is a Class A misdemeanor or a Class F felony.If the abuser is convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, the judge could sentence the abuser to up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $2,300, and other conditions that the judge thinks are appropriate. If the abuser is convicted of a Class F felony, the judge could sentence the abuser to up to three years in prison, and fines and other penalties that that the judge thinks are appropriate.2

1 10 Del.C. § 7209(a); 11 Del.C. § 1271A(b)
2 11 Del.C. §§ 4206(a); 4205(b)(6), (k)

If I get a protective order, will it show up in an internet search?

According to federal law, which applies to all states, territories, and tribal lands, the courts are not supposed to make available publicly on the internet any information that would be likely to reveal your identity or location. This applies to all of these documents:

  • the petition you file;
  • any protection order, restraining order, or injunction you get; and
  • the registration of your order in a different state.1

1 18 USC § 2265(d)(3)

Where can I find additional information about sexual assault?

To read more about sexual assault, you can go to our About Abuse page. If you have been sexually assaulted, you may want to reach out for support to deal with the trauma of being a victim of sexual violence or intimidation. There are places that you can call for help:

  • Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) for support, information, and other resources. Free, confidential, 24 hrs.
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3244 (TTY) for support, shelter, or services. Free, confidential, 24 hrs.
  • If you know a child who is being abused or neglected, you can call the Childhelp USA National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD (422-4453) for advice and information. This is not the same as reporting the abuse - the purpose is to give you information on options.  Free, confidential, 24 hrs.
  • For personalized legal information, you can contact the WomensLaw Email Hotline.

There are also Internet “chat rooms” for victims of sexual violence or intimidation where you can remain anonymous and still get support from others who have been through similar assaults.  Go to our Chats and Message Boards page for resources.