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
There is a $15 filing fee that can be waived in exceptional circumstances.2
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)
2 Hawai’i State Judiciary website
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, such as “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. 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 are staying at a shelter, give a Post Office Box, not a street address.
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 Hawaii Download Court Forms page or from the courthouse in your area. To find your courthouse, go to the Hawaii 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
You can find more information about service of process in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section, in the question called What is service of process and how do I accomplish it?
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 three 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.
1 Hawai’i State Judiciary website
2 HRS § 604-10.5(g)