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Legal Information: Hawaii

Hawaii Restraining Orders

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Restraining Orders

Below you will find information about orders of protection due to domestic violence, which are issued in family court, and injunctions against harassment, which are issued in district court. The Hawaii State Judiciary provides further information on this process in the Self Help: Protective Orders section of their website.

Orders for Protection due to Domestic Abuse (Family Court)

An order for protection is a civil order that is issued to stop abuse by a family or household member.

Basic information

What is the legal definition of domestic abuse in Hawaii?

This section defines domestic abuse for the purposes of getting an order for protection from family court.

Hawaii law defines "domestic abuse" as the occurrence of one or more of the following things between family or household members:

  • physical harm/ bodily injury/ assault;
  • the threat of imminent physical harm/ bodily injury/ assault;
  • extreme psychological abuse (ongoing behavior/actions towards you that seriously disturbs or continually bothers you and has no purpose, causing you extreme emotional distress);
  • malicious property damage (purposely causing damage to your property to try and cause you emotional distress); and/or
  • sexual offenses committed by an adult against a child which include:

1 HRS § 586-1

What types of orders for protection are there? How long do they last?

There are two types of orders for protection that can be issued by the family court in cases of domestic abuse.

Temporary restraining orders (TRO).  A temporary restraining order can be granted at the time you apply for your order for protection without prior notice to the abuser and without him/her being present in court.1  It is valid for up to 180 days or until an order for protection becomes effective, whichever happens first.  Generally, a hearing on the TRO will take place within 15 days.  At the hearing, the abuser can try to “show cause” (prove) why the TRO should be discontinued.2  For information on the protections you can get in a TRO, see How can an order for protection help me? 

Note: Although Hawaii does not have an emergency order that can be filed when courts are closed, the law does empower the police to issue a similar "order."  A police officer who is investigating an allegation of abuse of a family/household member can order the abuser to leave the home for a "period of separation."  During this time, it is illegal for the abuser to initiate any contact with you, either by telephone or in person. The "period of separation" lasts until 6:00 p.m. on the second business day following the day the order was issued (the day the order is issued is not counted when calculating the two business days).3  For more information, you can read the whole law on our Statutes page here.

Final order for protection.  At the hearing that takes place approximately 15 days after getting your TRO, the judge can give you an order for protection for a longer amount of time if the judge believes that:

  • the abuser did not “show cause” (prove) why the order should be discontinued; and
  • the order for protection is necessary to prevent domestic abuse from happening or from re-occurring.4 

You can be granted whatever protections were included in your TRO and others if the judge believes they are necessary.3 See How can an order for protection help me? for more information on the protections you can get in an order for protection.

If your situation does not fit the requirements for a family court order, you may request an injunction against harassment from the district court.  For more information, please see our Injunctions Against Harassment (District Court) page.

1 HRS § 586-4(a)
2 HRS § 586-5(a),(b)
3 HRS § 709-906(4)(b)
4 HRS § 586-5.5(a)

 

Where can I file for an order for protection?

You can file for an order for protection in any family court in the circuit where you live.1  Go to our HI Courthouse Locations page for addresses and phone numbers of the courthouses.  If you want help, you may want to contact an attorney.  Please see our HI Finding a Lawyer page for more information.

1 HRS § 586-2

What protections can I get in an order for protection due to domestic abuse?

In a temporary order for protection due to domestic abuse, which can be issued when you file for an order for protection, a judge can order the abuser to:

  • stop threatening, contacting, hurting, and psychologically abusing you or any person living with you;
  • not enter or visit your home;
  • immediately leave (vacate) your residence if you live together;
  • not take, hide, get rid of, threaten, or physically abuse any animal belonging to the household; (Note: You can be ordered to follow these restrictions regarding the animal as well);
  • not contact, threaten, or physically abuse you at your place of work;
  • not contact, threaten, or physically abuse your children at school; and
  • not intentionally damage your property or the property of family or household members.1

In an order for protection due to domestic abuse, a judge can:

  • order all of the protections in the temporary order, listed above; and
  • order the following additional protections:
    • establish temporary visitation and custody for your minor children (which may include supervised visitation or no visitation);
    • take part in domestic violence intervention services; (Note: You may be ordered to participate as well);
    • grant other reasonable requests that the judge believes are necessary in order for you to be free from the violence;2
  • order your wireless phone provider to:
    • transfer a shared cell phone account (that you share with the abuser) into your name alone; or
    • remove/release you from a shared wireless plan and assign a substitute telephone number or numbers. Either must be done without charge, penalty, or fee.3 You can read more about this law on our HI Statutes page. (Note: A victim of domestic violence can also request this directly from the wireless service provider even without having an order of protection.4 You can read the requirements in the law on our HI Statutes page.)

Note: Hawaii law makes it illegal for someone who has an ex parte or final order for protection against him/her to have a firearm (and ammunition) as long as the order prohibits the abuser from contacting, threatening, or physically abusing you or anyone named in the order.5 The abuser is supposed to hand over all firearms and ammunition to the police department for safekeeping while the order is in effect. For more information, see Can the abuser have a gun?

    1 HRS § 586-4(a),(c); see petition for an order of protection (for example, in the First Circuit)
    2 HRS § 586-5.5(a); see petition for an order of protection (for example, in the First Circuit)
    3 HRS § 586-5.8(a)
    4 HRS § 269-16.93
    5 HRS § 134-7(f)

    Who can get an order of protection

    Who is eligible for an order of protection?

    You can file an order for protection against a family or household member who has committed acts of domestic abuse against you or your minor child.  A family or household member includes:

    • your current or former spouse;
    • your current or former reciprocal beneficiary,1 which is someone who you have significant personal, emotional, and economic relationships with, but are prohibited from legally marrying.2  (To see the requirements of becoming reciprocal beneficiaries, go to our HI Statutes page);
    • someone with whom you have a child in common;
    • your parent;
    • your child;
    • someone related to you by blood or marriage;
    • someone with whom you live/lived (Note: This does not include adults who lived together as roommates or who were cohabitants only for economic reasons or due to a contract (e.g., a lease)); and/or
    • someone who you are dating or used to date.1

    1 HRS § 586-1
    2 HRS § 572C-2

    Can I get an order for protection against a same-sex partner?

    In Hawaii, you may apply for an order of protection against a current or former same-sex partner as long as the relationship meets the requirements listed in Who is eligible for an order of protection?  You must also be the victim of an act of domestic abuse, which is explained here What is the legal definition of domestic abuse in Hawaii?

    You can find information about LGBTQIA victims of abuse and what types of barriers they may face on our LGBTQIA Victims page.

    Can I get an order for protection if I'm a minor?

    If you are a minor (under 18),1 any family, household member, or state agency may file for an order for protection on your behalf.2

    1 HRS § 577-1
    2 HRS § 586-3(b)

    How much does an order for protection cost? Do I need a lawyer?

    Nothing. There is no fee to file for, get, or serve an order for protection.1

    Although you do not need a lawyer to file for an order for protection, it may be helpful to have a lawyer.  Having legal representation is especially important if the abuser has a lawyer.  Even if the abuser does not have a lawyer, it is recommended that you contact a lawyer to make sure that your legal rights are protected.

    If you cannot afford a lawyer but want one to help you with your case, you can find information on legal assistance and domestic violence organizations on the Places that Help page.  In addition, the domestic violence organizations in your area and/or court staff may be able to answer some of your questions or help you fill out the necessary court forms.2  You will find contact information for courthouses on the HI Courthouse Locations page.

    1 HRS § 607-2.5
    2 HRS § 586-3(d)

    Steps for getting an order for protection

    Step1: Call the appropriate office for assistance in filling out your petition/getting a TRO.

    As soon as possible after the abuse occurs, you may want to call the local office or branch of the family court. They will schedule an appointment with you where they can help you to fill out your petition for an order for protection and get a temporary restraining order (TRO). Be prepared to provide details about the abuse, including physical and psychological abuse, verbal threats and property damage.

    The following branches are open Monday - Friday, 7:45am - 3pm HST (except holidays). You can reach them at the following numbers:
    • O`ahu - Family court temporary restraining order office - (808) 538-5959
    • Hawai`i - Alternatives to violence branch of child and family services - (808) 969-7798
    • Kaua`i - Family court office - (808) 482-2330
    • Maui - Law library/Service center/Jury pool office - (808) 244-2706

    Note:
    Some of these steps listed in this section may vary depending on what circuit you are in. You may want to contact the appropriate office listed above to make sure that you are taking the right steps.

    Step 2: Go to your appointment and fill out your petition with an advocate.

    At your appointment, an advocate will help you fill out the paperwork to file for an order for protection and to request a TRO.  A petition for a family court order of protection must be in writing and state that either:

    • a past act or acts of abuse have happened; or
    • threats of abuse or property damage with the intent of causing emotional distress are so strong that it is likely that abuse will happen.1

    On the petition, you will be the "petitioner" and the abuser will be called the "respondent."  Write about the most recent incidents of violence, using descriptive language - words like "slapping," "hitting," "grabbing," "threatening," "choking," etc. - that fits your specific situation.  Include details and dates, if possible.  Describe any property damage, hospital visits because of the abuse, and whether the abuser owns or has threatened you with a weapon.  Be specific.  It may also be important to write any previous court action you have taken against the abuser.

    Be sure to write your name and a safe mailing address and phone number.  If you are staying at a shelter, give a post office (P.O.) box, not a street address.  When you have completed the paperwork, the advocate will instruct you to bring the paperwork to the family court in your county.

    Note: It may also be useful to bring identifying information about the abuser such as a photo (which may be used in serving the order to respondent); addresses of residence and employment; a description and plate number of the abuser's car; and information about his/her gun ownership.

    If you prefer not to get help with filling out the petition and other paperwork, you can fill it out on your own.  The paperwork is available at your local courthouse and online at the Hawaii Judiciary website. You will find links to the forms you will need at our HI Download Court Forms page.  For information on the courthouse in your area, please see our HI Courthouse Locations page.  However, you may want to consider going to the appropriate support office in your circuit as they can help you through the process and give you advice on safety planning.

    1 HRS § 586-3(c)

    Step 3: Bring your petition to family court.

    When you bring your petition to court, a judge will look over your request and decide whether to grant you a temporary restraining order (TRO). The judge may ask you questions about your request or s/he may make a decision based on your application only. The abuser does not need to be present for you to get a TRO.

    Note: You may not know right away if the judge will grant you the TRO. The clerk may instruct you to call back later in the day to find out the status of your petition. If you file early in the morning, you will usually hear back later that afternoon. If you file later in the day, you will likely hear back the next day.

    Step 4: Pick up your copies of the TRO.

    If the judge grants a TRO, the court clerk will give you two copies of the order.  One copy will be for you, which will include the date of your order to show cause hearing.  The other copy is certified, sealed, and stamped which can be used to serve the abuser.

    Review the order before you leave the courthouse to make sure that the information is correct.  If something is wrong or missing, you may want to ask the clerk how you can correct the order before you leave.  Be sure to keep it with you at all times.  You may want to keep copies in your car, workplace, or your child's daycare.

    Step 5: Police will serve the abuser.

    The abuser must be "served," or given a copy of the petition along with papers that tell him/her about the temporary restraining order (TRO) and the order to show cause (OSC) hearing date.

    After the judge signs your TRO, you will receive a copy. It is your responsibility to make sure that service is completed. You will need to provide an address where the abuser can be found. In some circuits, you may have to take two copies of the TRO to the police station in the district where the abuser can most likely be located. In others, the court will ensure that the abuser is served. You may want to talk to the clerk before you leave the courthouse to make sure you know what the rule is in your circuit. Do not try to serve the abuser yourself.

    Your TRO is not enforceable until the defendant is served.1 Once the police serve the order, they are supposed to take all firearms and ammunition from the abuser. You can read more about this in Can the abuser have a gun? You can call Hawaii Police Records and Services Department to ensure that the abuser has been served and your TRO is in effect.

    1 See Hawaii Judiciary website

    Step 6: The order to show cause (OSC) hearing

    Within 15 days of being granted your TRO, an order to show cause (OSC) hearing date will be scheduled.  The date and time of your OSC hearing appears on your TRO.  A judge will hear all of the evidence and decide whether to extend your TRO beyond 180 days. If the judge believes that a final order of protection should be issued, s/he will grant you an order that can last for as long as s/he determines is necessary (usually up to 3 years).1

    You must go to the hearing.  If you do not appear, your petition will be dismissed.  If the abuser has received notice of the hearing, but does not show up, the judge will generally continue with the hearing.  If the abuser has not received notice of the hearing, the judge may order a new hearing date and extend your temporary restraining order.

    Advocates may be available to assist you at your OSC hearing.  You have the right to bring a lawyer to represent you at the hearing.  If you need more time to get a lawyer (especially if, for example, you show up to court and the abuser has a lawyer and you do not), you may ask the judge for a "continuance" to set a later court date so you can have time to find a lawyer for yourself.

    See the Preparing Your Case section under the Preparing for Court tab at the top of this page for ways you can show the judge that you were abused.

    1 HRS § 586-5.5(a)

    After the hearing

    Can the abuser have a gun?

    Once you get a protection order, there may be laws that prohibit the respondent from having a gun in his/her possession while the order is in effect. According to Hawaii's laws, there will be a specific statement in the order that makes possession of a firearm (and ammunition) illegal as long as the order prohibits the abuser from contacting, threatening, or physically abusing anyone named in the order.1 However, it's possible that the abuser can convince the judge that there is "good cause" to allow the abuser to keep his/her guns. If this happens, the judge will specifically include a statement in the order that says firearm possession is allowed.1

    Firearm possession can be prohibited as part of an ex parte order if, from your allegations in the affidavit, the judge believes that:

    1. the abuser owns, has, or intends to get a firearm; and
    2. the firearm may be used to threaten, injure, or abuse you or someone else.1

    When law enforcement serves the order upon the abuser, the police officer can take custody of any and all firearms and ammunition that:

    • the officer sees (in "plain sight");
    • are discovered through a search to which the abuser consents; and
    • the abuser voluntarily gives to the police officer.1

    If the abuser is the registered owner of a firearm but refuses to give it to the police, s/he will be guilty of a misdemeanor. In addition, when a police officer is unable to locate the firearms and ammunition, the police officer is supposed to apply to the court for a search warrant to get permission to take (seize) the firearms and ammunition.1

    You can find more information about gun laws by:

    • going to our State Gun Laws section to read about your state’s specific gun-related laws; and
    • reading our Federal Gun Laws section to understand the federal laws that apply to all states.

    You can read more about keeping an abuser from accessing guns on the National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center’s website.

    1 HRS § 134-7(f)

    What should I do when I leave the courthouse?

    These are some things you may want to consider after you have been granted an order for protection.  Depending on what you think is safest in your situation, you may do any or all of the following:

    • Review the 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 order of protection as soon as possible.
    • Keep a copy of the 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 to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work along with a photo of the abuser.
    • Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
    • You may wish to consider changing your locks (if permitted by law) and your phone number.
    • If you are concerned about your safety when leaving the courthouse, you may want to notify a court officer to see if s/he may walk you to your car.

    You may also wish to make a safety plan. 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 orders for protection, but some do not and it is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe.  For tips on staying safe, go to our Safety Tips page.

    I was not granted an order for protection. What are my options?

    Orders for protection and TROs are generally not granted for two reasons: 1) either your case does not meet the legal requirements; or 2) your petition was not detailed enough.  If your petition is not detailed enough, there may not be enough evidence for the judge to grant you the TRO.1  An advocate or lawyer can help you fill out the petition to prevent this from happening.

    If you were not granted an order for protection because your relationship with the abuser does not qualify as a “family or household member,” you may be able to seek protection through an injunction against harassment from the district court.  Please see our Injunctions Against Harassment (District Court) page for more information.  You may also be able to reapply for an order for protection if a new incident of domestic abuse occurs after you are denied the order.

    If you are not granted an order for protection, there are still some things you can do to try to stay safe.  It might be a good idea to contact one of the domestic violence resource centers in your area to get help, support, and advice on how to stay safe.  They can help you develop a safety plan and help connect you with the resources you need.  For safety planning help, ideas, and information, go to our Safety Tips page. You will find a list of Hawaii resources on our Places that Help page.

    If you believe the judge made an error of law, you can talk to a lawyer about the possibility of an appeal.  Generally, appeals are complicated and you may need the help of a lawyer.  See our Filing Appeals page for general information on appeals.

    What can I do if the abuser violates the order?

    To enforce a temporary restraining order or order for protection, you are the one who would have to report the violations to the police or the court.   Be sure to write down the date, time, location, and what happens when your order is violated.

    Remember, even if you think it is a minor violation, you can call the police.  It can be a misdemeanor crime and contempt of court if the abuser knowingly violates the order in any way.  A judge can punish someone for being in contempt of court.  In addition, the police can arrest him/her for the crime of violating the order.1  A judge may order the abuser to undergo domestic violence intervention services, (s)he may be jailed and/or fined.

    When you call the police, they will generally send an officer out to make a report.  Show the police your TRO or order for protection.  If the police witnessed the violation or if the abuser is still in the area, the police will most likely make an arrest.  If the abuser violated the order by injuring you, damaging property, etc., you can show the police any physical injuries or property damage (and you can photograph it for use later on).  If the abuser called you in violation of the order, you may want to keep a log of the date and time of the call, what s/he said, save any voicemails or text messages, and write down anything else that you think is important.

    The police will make a report, whether or not the abuser is arrested.  It is a good idea to write down the name of the responding officer(s) and their badge number in case you want to follow up on your case.

    If no arrest was made, and/or you are uncertain of an arrest, or you have questions about what to expect after an arrest was made, you can call the Victim/Witness Assistance Division of the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office at one of the following numbers:

    • O`ahu (the city and county of Honolulu)- (808) 768-7400 (this is the general prosecutor's office number)
    • Maui - (808) 270-7695 2
    • Hawai`i - Kona: (808) 322-2552; Hilo: (808) 934-3306
    • Kaua`i - (808) 241-1888 3

    1 HRS §§ 586-4(e); 586-11(a)
    2County of Maui website
    3County of Kaua'i website

    How do I change or extend my order for protection?

    Changing your order
    You can ask the court to modify (change) the terms of an existing family court order for protection by filing a petition in court. The abuser must be notified and a hearing may be held to determine if the modification(s) you requested should be made. At the hearing (and even in your petition), you must show that substantial changes have taken place since the order was issued or since the last modification was made in order for the judge to grant a new modification.1

    Extending your order
    You may apply to the court to have your order for protection extended, up through the day that it expires. You will have to go back to the family court clerk and fill out a petition similar to the one you completed for the original order. The judge will hold a hearing to determine whether the protective order should be extended. In making this decision, the judge will consider evidence of abuse and threats of abuse that happened before you got your temporary restraining order (TRO) and whether there is “good cause” (a good reason) to extend the order for protection. The judge will decide whether to extend the order, and for how long.2

    Extended orders for protection can include all of the protections in your original order and can add additional protections that the judge believes is necessary to prevent domestic abuse. For example, the extended order can set up temporary custody and visitation rights, and/or order either or both parties to participate in domestic violence intervention services.2

    1 HRS § 586-9
    2 HRS § 586-5.5(b)

    Will my order still be valid if I move?

    If you move within Hawaii, your order will still be valid.  It may be a good idea to contact your local law enforcement to let them know about the order for protection and that you have moved to a new area.  You may also want to call the court where you originally received the order to tell them your new address so that they can contact you if necessary.  However, if you want your new address to be kept confidential, be sure to ask the clerk how to ensure that the abuser cannot access it from the court file.

    Additionally, the federal law provides what is called "full faith and credit," which means that once you have a criminal or civil protection order, it follows you wherever you go, including U.S. Territories and tribal lands.1  Different states may have different regulations when enforcing out-of-state protection orders.  You may find out about your new state’s policies by contacting a domestic violence program, the clerk of courts, or the prosecutor in your area or an attorney.  For information on lawyers or domestic violence programs in the area, please see our Places that Help page and select the new state to which you will be moving.

    If you are moving to a new state, you may also call the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit (1-800-903-0111 x 2) for information on enforcing your order between states.

    Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

    1 18 USC § 2265(a)

    Injunctions Against Harassment (District Court)

    This is a civil order issued to protect someone from harassment committed by a non-family member or a non-household member.

    Basic info

    What is the definition of harassment for the purposes of getting an injunction against harassment?

    For the purposes of getting an injunction against harassment from the district court, “harassment” is defined as:

    1. physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the threat of immediate/likely physical harm, bodily injury, or assault; or
    2. a pattern of behavior that seriously and continuously alarms you, serves no legitimate purpose, and causes you to reasonably suffer emotional distress.1

    1 HRS § 604-10.5(a)

    What is an injunction against harassment?

    A district court can issue an injunction against harassment (and initially, a temporary restraining order) if there has been harassment against you by anyone who you do not have a family or household member relationship with.1 Therefore, if you were not granted an order of protection because the person harassing/abusing you is not a “family or household member,” you may be able to seek protection through an injunction against harassment. A typical example of a person who falls under an injunction against harassment is a neighbor, co-worker or schoolmate.

    1Hawai'i State Judiciary website

    What kinds of injunctions against harassment are there? How long do they last?

    There are two types of injunctions against harassment you may be granted: a temporary restraining order (TRO) or an injunction from further harassment.1

    A temporary restraining order (TRO) can last for up to 90 days from the date it is granted. A hearing will take place within 15 days after the TRO is granted. If the harasser has not been properly notified before the date of the hearing, the court may set a new date for the hearing, so long as it does not exceed 90 days from the date the TRO was granted.2 The TRO may temporarily prevent the harasser from harassing you.3

    An injunction from further harassment can be granted if the judge finds that there is substantial evidence that harassment has occurred. This injunction can last for up to 3 years.2

    1 HRS § 604-10.5(c)
    2 HRS § 604-10.5(g)
    3 HRS § 604-10.5(f)

    What protections can I get in an injunction against harassment?

    An injunction against harassment can prevent the harasser from:

    • assaulting you or causing you physical harm/bodily injury;
    • threatening to cause physical harm, bodily injury, or assault which you believe is likely to occur;
    • intentionally directing behavior at you that alarms or continuously bothers you while having no legitimate purpose, leading you to suffer emotional distress;1
    • contacting or threatening you or anyone who resides in your home;
    • calling you;
    • entering or visiting your home, including the yard or garage; or
    • entering or visiting your place of employment.2

    1 HRS § 604-10.5
    2Hawai’i State Judiciary website PDF of Petition

    Where can I file for an injunction against harassment?

    You can file for an injunction against harassment in any district court in the district in which you live.1

    1 HRS § 604-10.5(c)

    Who can get an injunction against harassment

    Who is eligible for an injunction against harassment?

    You can file for an injunction against harassment against someone who has committed harassment against you or if you experience threats of harassment, which make it very likely that acts of harassment may happen at any moment.1  However, the harasser must not be a family or household member, which means that the harasser cannot be:

    • your current or former spouse;
    • your parent;
    • your child;
    • your relative by blood or marriage;
    • someone with whom you live/lived (Note: This definition does not include adults who lived together as roommates or who were cohabitants only for economic reasons or due to a contract (e.g., a lease); therefore, you may be able to file for an injunction against harassment against a roommate or cohabitant);
    • someone with whom you have a child in common;
    • your current or former dating partner;2 or
    • your current or former reciprocal beneficiary (a person with whom you have significant personal, emotional, and economic relationships, but are prohibited from legally marrying).3

    If the harasser falls into one of these categories above, you may have to apply to the family court for an order for protection instead.  Please see our Orders for Protection due to Domestic Abuse (Family Court) page for more information.

    1 HRS § 604-10.5(d)
    2 HRS § 586-1
    3 HRS §§ 586-1; 572C-2

    Can I get an injunction against harassment against a same-sex partner?

    No.  Injunctions against harassment cannot be filed against current or former dating partners, a spouse or ex-spouse, someone with whom you live/lived romantically, or someone who is considered to be a "reciprocal beneficiary."1  For information on filing for an order for protection against a same-sex partner in family court, please see our Orders for Protection due to Domestic Abuse (Family Court) page.

    1 HRS § 586-1

    You can find information about LGBTQIA victims of abuse and what types of barriers they may face on our LGBTQIA Victims page.

    Can I get an injunction against harassment if I’m a minor?

    If you are 17 or younger and unmarried, one of your parents or a legal guardian needs to come with you to file. If you are under age 18 and married, then you can file for it in your own name, on your own. Note: If you are unmarried but you cannot have a parent or legal guardian come with you, you can explain why in your petition.1

    If the harasser is a minor, the harasser’s parent or guardian should be named as the “respondent” on the harasser’s behalf.1

    1Hawai’i State Judiciary website

    How much does an injunction against harassment cost? Do I need a lawyer?

    There are no fees to file for an injunction against harassment.1  The judge may also order the losing party to pay for the winning party’s court costs and attorney’s fees.

    Although you do not need a lawyer to file for an injunction against harassment, it may be helpful to have a lawyer.  This is especially important if the harasser has a lawyer or if the case is going to trial.  Even if the harasser does not have a lawyer, it is recommended that you contact a lawyer to make sure that your legal rights are protected.

    If you cannot afford a lawyer but want one to help you with your case, you can find information on legal assistance on our HI Finding a Lawyer page.

    1 HRS § 607-2.5

    Steps for getting an injunction against harassment

    Step 1: Go to the district court to begin the filing process.

    A petition for an injunction against harassment must be in writing and state that a past act(s) of harassment has happened or that threats of harassment are so strong that it is likely that harassment will happen.1

    You can apply for an injunction against harassment by going to one of the following locations:

    • O’ahu –Honolulu District Court, Regular Claims Division, located at 1111 Alakea Street, third floor, (808) 538-5151
    • Maui – Service Center, located at 2145 Main Street, room 141A, (808) 244-2706
    • Hawai’i – Administration and Services Section, 777 Kilauea Avenue, Hilo, (808) 961-7430
    • Kaua’i– Civil Division, located at 3970 Kaana Street, Ste. 207, (808) 482-2303

    Hours: 7:45 a.m. through 3:00 p.m. (except for Kaua`i, which is 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.,); Monday through Friday, except for holidays. No appointment is necessary.

    Note: It may be useful to bring identifying information about the harasser such as a photo (which may be used in serving the order to respondent), addresses of residence and employment, a description and plate number of the harasser's car, and information about his/her gun ownership.

    1 HRS § 604-10.5(d)

    Step 2: Fill out the petition.

    Carefully fill out the petition. On the petition you will be the petitioner and the harasser will be the respondent.   Write about the most recent incidents of harassment, using descriptive language (words like "slapping," "hitting," "grabbing," "choking," "threatening," etc.) that fits your situation.  If you recall the specific language used in threats to you, you may want to include that language in the petition.  Include details and dates, if possible.  Be specific.

    Be sure to write a safe mailing address and phone number.  If you are staying at a shelter, give a Post Office Box, not a street address.

    You can ask that your address be kept confidential.  You may also ask that the school(s) you or your children attend be kept confidential if that would put you or your children in danger.

    If you need assistance filling out the forms, you may be able to ask the clerk for help.  You will find links to the forms you will need at our HI Download Court Forms page or from the courthouse in your area.  To find your courthouse, go to the HI Courthouse Locations page.

    Step 3: A judge reviews your petition and may grant you a temporary restraining order.

    After you complete the necessary forms, a judge will look at your petition for an injunction against harassment and may grant you an immediate temporary restraining order, known as a TRO, which can last up to 90 days or until your full court hearing. The judge may ask you questions about your request or s/he may make a decision based on your petition only. The harasser does not need to be present for you to get a TRO.

    If the TRO is granted, a hearing will be scheduled within 15 days. If the harasser has not been properly notified before the date of the hearing, the court may set a new date for the hearing, as long as it is not more than 90 days from the date the TRO was granted.1

    If the judge grants a TRO, the court clerk will give you certified copies of the order. Ask the clerk to “conform” all copies by stamping the judge’s signature and date on all orders.2 Review the order before you leave the courthouse to make sure that the information is correct. If something is wrong or missing, you can ask the clerk how you can correct the order before you leave. Be sure to keep it with you at all times. You may want to keep copies in your car, at your workplace, or at your child's daycare.

    Your TRO is not officially in effect until the respondent receives a copy.2

    1 HRS § 604-10.5(g)
    2Hawai’i State Judiciary website

    Step 4: Service of process

    The harasser must be "served," or formally given the petition and the papers that tell him/her about the temporary restraining order (if there is one) and the hearing date for the injunction against harassment.

    There are different rules for service depending on which district you live in. You may have to take the court papers to the police or to a process server. There also may be fees for having it served. For more information on the procedure and the fees for service of the order in the First, Second, Third and Fifth circuits, you can go to the Hawai’i State Judiciary website.

    Your TRO is not officially in effect until the respondent receives a copy. You may want to check with the police or the process server who was serving the papers to confirm that the harasser was served.1

    1Hawai’i State Judiciary website

    Step 5: The TRO/injunction hearing

    If you want to extend your protection past 90 days, you have to attend a hearing to get a final injunction against harassment.  At the hearing, a judge will hear all of the evidence and decide whether to grant you the injunction.1  If the judge does believe that an injunction against further harassment should be issued, (s)he will grant you an order for up to 3 years.2

    Although you do not need one, you have the right to bring a lawyer to represent you at the hearing.  If you show up to court and the harasser has a lawyer and you do not, you may ask the judge for a "continuance" to set a later court date so you can have time to find a lawyer for yourself.

    See the Preparing Your Case section under the Preparing for Court tab at the top of this page for ways you can show the judge that you were harassed.

    1Hawai’i State Judiciary website
    2 HRS § 604-10.5(g)

    After the hearing

    What should I do when I leave the courthouse?

    There are some things you may want to consider doing after you have been granted an injunction against harassment.  Depending on what you think is safest in your situation, you may decide to do any or all of the following:

    • Review the injunction before you leave the courthouse.  If you have any questions about it, you can try to ask the judge or the clerk.
    • Make several copies of the injunction as soon as possible.  Keep a copy of the injunction with you at all times.
    • Leave copies of the restraining injunction at your work place, at your home, at the children's school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on.  Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work along with a photo of the harasser.  Give a copy of the injunction to anyone who is named in and protected by the injunction and encourage them to make their own copies.
    • You may wish to consider changing your locks (if permitted by law) and your phone number.
    • If the clerk is forwarding the order to law enforcement for service, you may want to call law enforcement to make sure they have received copies of the injunction against harassment from the clerk and to ask for updates on when it is being served. 
    • If you are concerned about your safety when exiting the courthouse, you may want to notify a court officer and ask if s/he would accompany you to your car.

    You may also wish to make a safety plan.   People can do a number of things to increase their safety from harassment.  Many harassers obey injunctions, but some do not and it is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe.  For tips on staying safe, go to our Safety Tips for Stalking Victims page.

    I was not granted an injunction against harassment. What are my options?

    You may be able to reapply for an injunction against harassment if a new incident of abuse or harassment occurs or if a new threat of harassment occurs after you are denied the injunction.

    If you believe the judge made an error of law, you can talk to lawyer about the possibility of an appeal.  Generally, appeals are complicated and you will most likely need the help of a lawyer.  Go to our Filing Appeals page for general information on appeals.

    What can I do if the harasser violates the order?

    To enforce an injunction against harassment, you are the one who would have to report the violations to the police or the court. Be sure to write down the date, time, location and what happened when your injunction was violated.

    Remember, even if you think it is a minor violation, you can call the police. It can be a crime and contempt of court if the harasser knowingly violates the injunction in any way. Violating an injunction against harassment is a misdemeanor, which may lead the judge to sentence the harasser to appropriate counseling. Multiple violations may lead to time in jail.1

    When you call the police, they will send an officer out to make a report. Show the police your injunction against harassment. If the police witnessed the violation or if the harasser is still in the area, the police may make an arrest. If the harasser has harmed you or your property, you can show the police any physical injuries or property damage. If the defendant is harassing you by telephone, and your injunction protects you from phone contact, you can keep a log of the time and date of the call, and what was said and report that to the police.

    The police may make a report, whether or not the harasser is arrested. It is a good idea to write down the name of the responding officer(s) and their badge number(s) in case you want to follow up on your case.

    Do not contact the respondent. Should the respondent violate your injunction, police and judges may take your report less seriously if you have been in touch with him/her.

    If no arrest was made, and/or you are uncertain if there was an arrest, you may want to call the Victim/Witness Assistance Division of the Prosecuting Attorney’s office as soon as possible. Tell them you made a police report for a violation of an injunction against harassment.

    If an arrest was made, it is not necessary to call the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office because they will automatically become involved. However, if you need information or have questions about what to expect, you contact the Victim/Witness Assistance Division of the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office by calling:

    • O`ahu (the city and county of Honolulu)- (808) 768-7401 (this is the general prosecutor's office number)
    • Maui - (808) 270-76952
    • Hawai`i - Kona: (808) 322-2552; Hilo: (808) 934-3306
    • Kaua`i - (808) 241-18883

    1 HRS § 604-10.5(i)
    2County of Maui website
    3County of Kaua'i website

    What happens to my injunction against harassment if I move?

    If you move within Hawaii, your injunction will still be valid.  You may want to contact your local law enforcement to let them know about the injunction against harassment and that you have moved to a new area.  You may also want to call the court where you originally received the injunction to tell them your new address so that they can contact you if necessary.

    Additionally, the federal law provides what is called "full faith and credit," which means that once you have a criminal or civil protection order, it follows you wherever you go, including U.S. Territories and tribal lands.1  Different states have different rules for enforcing out-of-state protection orders.  You can find out about your state’s policies by contacting a domestic violence program, the clerk of court, or the prosecutor in your area.

    If you are moving out of state, you may want to contact a lawyer in that new state who can give you information about how that state treats out-of state orders.  For information on lawyers in the area, please see our HI Finding a Lawyer page and select the new state to which you will be moving.  If you are moving to a new state, you may also call the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit (1-800-903-0111 x 2) for information on enforcing your order there.

    Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

    1 18 USC § 2265

    Moving with a Hawaii Order for Protection

    If you are moving out of state or are going to be out of the state for any reason, your order for protection can still be enforceable.

    Can I get my order for protection from HI enforced in another state?

    Yes. If you have a valid Hawaii order for protection that meets federal standards, it can be enforced in another state. The Violence Against Women Act, which is a federal law, states that all valid orders of protection granted in the United States receive "full faith and credit" in all state and tribal courts within the U.S., including U.S. territories.1  See I have a temporary restraining order (TRO). Can it be enforced in another state? to find out if your order for protection qualifies.

    Each state must enforce out-of-state orders for protection in the same way it enforces its own orders.  In other words, if the abuser violates your out-of-state order for protection, s/he will be punished according to the laws of whatever state you are in when the order is violated. This is what is meant by "full faith and credit."

    1 18 U.S.C. § 2265

    How do I get my order for protection enforced in another state?

    Federal law does not require you to take any special steps to get your order for protection enforced in another state.

    Many states do have laws or regulations (rules) about registering or filing of out-of-state orders, which can make enforcement easier, but a valid order for protection is enforceable regardless of whether it has been registered or filed in the new state.1  In some states, you will need a certified copy of your order for protection.  A certified copy says that it is a "true and correct" copy; it is signed and initialed by the clerk of court that gave you the order, and usually has some kind of court stamp on it.  Rules differ from state to state, so it may be helpful to find out what the rules are in your new state.  You can contact a local domestic violence organization for more information by visiting our Advocates and Shelters page and entering your new state in the drop-down menu.

    Note: It is important to keep a copy of your order for protection with you at all times. It is also a good idea to know the rules of states you will be living in or visiting to ensure that your out-of-state order can be enforced in a timely manner.

    1 18 U.S.C. § 2265(d)(2)

    I have a temporary restraining order (TRO). Can it be enforced in another state?

    Yes. A temporary restraining order can be enforced in other states as long as it meets the requirements listed in How do I know if my protection order is good under federal law?

    Note: The state where you are going generally cannot extend your ex parte temporary order or issue you a permanent order when the temporary one expires. If you need to extend your temporary order, you will have to contact the state that issued the order and arrange to be at the hearing in person or by telephone (if that is an option offered by the court). However, you may be able to reapply for one in the new state that you are moving to if you meet the requirements for getting a protective order in that state – but, if you apply for one in a new state, the abuser would know what state you are living in, which may put you in danger.

    1 18 U.S.C. § 2265(b)(2)

     

    How do I know if my order for protection is good under federal law?

    An order for protection is good anywhere in the United States as long as:

    • It was issued to prevent violent or threatening acts, harassing behavior, sexual violence, or it was issued to prevent another person from coming near you or contacting you.1
    • The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case. (In other words, the court had the authority to hear the case.)
    • The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story. 
      • In the case of ex parte temporary and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and have an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story at a hearing that is scheduled before the temporary order expires.2

    Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

    1 18 U.S.C. § 2266(5)
    2 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a) & (b)

    I was granted temporary custody with my order for protection. Can I take my kids out of the state?

    Maybe.  It may depend on the exact wording of the custody provision in your order for protection.  You may have to first seek the permission of the court before leaving.  If the abuser was granted visitation rights with your children, then you may have to have the order changed before you move, or show the court that there is a fair and realistic alternative to the current visitation schedule.

    If you are unsure about whether or not you can take your kids out of the state, it is important to talk to a lawyer who understands domestic violence and custody laws, and can help you make the safest decision for you and your children.  You can find contact information for local domestic violence organizations and legal assistance in the HI area on our HI Places that Help page.

    I was granted temporary custody with my order for protection. Will another state enforce this custody order?

    Yes. Custody, visitation, and child support provisions that are included in an order for protection can be enforced across state lines. Law enforcement and courts in another state are required by federal law to enforce these provisions.1 However, before leaving the state, it is important to talk to a lawyer to make sure that leaving the state would not violate any laws such as parental kidnapping (custodial interference) laws, or any laws that your state may have regarding not removing a child from the state during a court case.

    1 18 USC § 2266

    Can I get someone to help me? Do I need a lawyer?

    You do not need a lawyer to get your order for protection enforced in another state.

    However, you may want to get help from a local domestic violence advocate or attorney in the state that you move to.  A domestic violence advocate can let you know what the advantages and disadvantages are for registering your order for protection, and help you through the process if you decide to do so.

    To find a domestic violence advocate or an attorney in the state you are moving to, click the Places that Help tab and then choose the state from the drop-down menu.

     

    Enforcing an Out-of-State Order in Hawaii

    If you are planning to move to Hawaii or are going to be in Hawaii for any reason, your protection order can be enforced.

    General rules for out-of-state orders in Hawaii

    Can I get my out-of-state order enforced in Hawaii? What are the requirements?

    Yes. Your protection order can be enforced in Hawaii as long as:

    • It was issued to prevent violent or threatening acts, harassing behavior, sexual violence, or it was issued to prevent another person from coming near you or contacting you.1
    • The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case. (In other words, the court had the authority to hear the case.)
    • The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story.
      •  In the case of ex parte temporary and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and have an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story at a hearing that is scheduled before the temporary order expires.2

    Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

    1 18 U.S.C. § 2266(5)
    2 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a) & (b)

    Can I have my out-of-state protection order changed, extended, or canceled in HI?

    No. Only the state that issued your order for protection can change, extend, or cancel the order. You cannot have this done by a court in Hawaii.

    To have your order changed, extended, or canceled, you will have to file a motion or petition, notify the abuser, and attend a hearing in the court where the order was issued. To find out more information about how to modify a restraining order, see our Restraining Orders page for the state where your order was issued (go to this link and enter your state from the drop-down list).

    If your order does expire while you are living in Hawaii, you may be able to get a new one issued in Hawaii, but this may be difficult to do if no new incidents of abuse have occurred in Hawaii.  To find out more information on how to get an order for protection in Hawaii, visit our Orders for Protection due to Domestic Abuse (Family Court) page.

     

    I was granted temporary custody with my protection order. Will I still have temporary custody of my children in HI?

    Yes. As long as the child custody provision complies with certain federal laws,1 Hawaii can enforce a temporary custody order that is a part of a protection order.

    To have someone read over your order and tell you if it meets this legal standard, contact a lawyer in your area. To find a lawyer in your area, please see the HI Finding a Lawyer Page.

    1 The federal laws are the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) or the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), and the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1980.

     

    Registering your out-of-state order in Hawaii

    If I don’t have a hard copy of my out-of-state order, how can law enforcement enforce it?

    To enforce an out-of-state order, law enforcement typically may rely on the National Crime Information Center Protection Order File (NCIC-POF). The NCIC-POF is a nationwide, electronic database that contains information about orders of protection that were issued in each state and territory in the U.S. The Protection Order File (POF) contains court orders that are issued to prevent acts of domestic violence, or to prevent someone from stalking, intimidating, or harassing another person. It contains orders issued by both civil and criminal state courts. The types of protection orders issued and the information contained in them vary from state to state.1

    There is no way for the general public to access the NCIC-POF. That means you cannot confirm a protection order is in the registry or add a protection order to the registry without the help of a government agency that has access to it.

    Typically, the state police or criminal justice agency in the state has the responsibility of reporting protection orders to NCIC. However, in some cases, the courts have taken on that role and they manage the protection order reporting process.2 NCIC–POF is used by law enforcement agencies when they need to verify and enforce an out-of-state protection order. It is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials.

    However, not all states routinely enter protection orders into the NCIC. Instead, some states may enter the orders only in their own state protection order registry, which would not be accessible to law enforcement in other states. According to a 2016 report by the National Center for State Courts, more than 700,000 protection orders that were registered in state protection order databases were not registered in the federal NCIC Protection Order File.2 This means that if a law enforcement officer is trying to enforce a protection order from another state that is missing from the NCIC, the victim would likely need to show the officer a hard copy of the order to get it immediately enforced. If you no longer have a copy of your original order, you may want to contact the court that issued the order to ask them how you can get another copy sent to you.

    1 National Center for Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit
    2 See State Progress in Record Reporting for Firearm-Related Background Checks: Protection Order Submissions, prepared by the National Center for State Courts, April 2016

    How do I register my protection order in Hawaii? Does it cost anything?

    You may wish to file your out-of-state protection order in Hawaii by getting a certified (stamped and sealed) copy of your protection order along with a sworn affidavit (written statement) that says the order is still effective. There is no fee to file your out-of-state protection order.1
    If you need help registering your protection order, you can contact a local domestic violence organization in Hawaii for assistance. You can find contact information for organizations in your area here on our HI Advocates and Shelters page.

    1 HRS § 586-23

     

    Do I have to register my protection order in Hawaii in order to get it enforced?

    No. Your out-of state protection order does not have to be entered into the state or federal registry in order to be enforced by a Hawaii police officer. Hawaii state law gives full protection to an out-of-state protection order as long as you can show the police officer a copy of the order and the order appears to be “authentic on its face” (contains the name of both parties and remains in effect).1 A police officer can also verify the existence of an order through the registry without needing a paper copy.2

    If the officer finds that the abuser has violated the out-of-state protection order, (s)he can arrest the abuser for violating the order in the same way an abuser would be arrested for violating an order from Hawaii.3

    1 HRS § 586-24(a)
    2 HRS § 586-24(b)
    3 HRS § 586-24(c)

    Will the abuser be notified if I register my protection order?

    Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which applies to all U.S. states and territories, the court is not permitted to notify the abuser when a protective order has been registered or filed in a new state unless you specifically request that the abuser be notified.1  However, you may wish to confirm that the clerk is aware of this law before registering the order if your address is confidential.

    However, remember that there may be a possibility that the abuser could somehow find out what state you have moved to.  It is important to continue to safety plan, even if you are no longer in the state where the abuser is living.  We have some safety planning tips to get you started on our Safety Tips page.  You can also contact a local domestic violence organization to get help in developing a personalized safety plan. You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our HI Advocates and Shelters page.

    1 18 USC § 2265(d)

    If I don't register my protection order, will it be more difficult to have it enforced?

    Maybe. While neither federal law nor state law requires that you register your protection order in order to get it enforced, if your order is not entered into the state registry, it may be more difficult for a HI law enforcement official to determine whether your order is real and therefore it could take longer to get your order enforced.

    If you are unsure about whether registering your order is the right decision for you, you may want to contact a local domestic violence organization in your area.  An advocate there can help you decide what the safest plan of action is for you in Hawaii.  To see a list of local domestic violence organizations in HI, go to our HI Advocates and Shelters page.