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Legal Information: Kentucky

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of November 15, 2023

What can I do if the abuser violates the order?

If the abuser intentionally violates your order, it can be considered contempt of court and a criminal offense, which is a Class A misdemeanor.1

To report the violation to law enforcement, you can call 911 immediately or you can file a criminal complaint. In some cases, the abuser can be arrested right away and prosecuted for a crime. Tell the officers you have a DVO and the respondent is violating it. If found guilty of a violation of a DVO, the abuser can be fined or put in jail. It is often a good idea to write down the name of the responding officers and their badge numbers in case you want to follow up on your case.

Another way to address the violation of a domestic violence order is to go back to the court that issued the order to file a “show cause” motion for contempt.2 A judge will then review the complaint or affidavit and decide what action to take.

Note: You can either pursue a civil proceeding or a criminal proceedings for the violation - you cannot pursue both. Once either proceeding has been filed, the other cannot be pursued, regardless of the outcome of the first proceeding.3

For more information about contempt, including the difference between criminal contempt and civil contempt, go to our general Domestic Violence Restraining Orders page.

1 KRS § 403.763(1), (4)
2 KRS § 403.763(2)(a)
3 KRS § 403.763(1)