How can a sexual assault protective order help me?
The law says that a victim of sexual assault can get all of the same protections in his/her protective order as a victim of domestic violence can get.1 We explain the protections available in a domestic violence protective order here, although some of them may not apply.
In a temporary restraining order, a judge may order the abuser to:
- Stop threatening, harassing, or hurting you;
- Not contact or interfere with you or your children (and give you temporary custody);
- Stay away from your residence, place of employment, school, etc.;
- Prevent you and the abuser from giving away, selling, or destroying any mutually-owned property;
- Move out of the residence (if you live together);
- Note: If the abuser solely owns or leases the house or apartment, s/he may not be asked to move out;
- Return your personal property to you; and/or
- Give you possession of your pet or order the abuser to stop abusing your pet.
In a long-term protective order (after a full hearing), a judge may:
- Order all of the relief listed above;
- Establish temporary visitation;
- Award you temporary support;
- Order an additional medical opinion regarding a medical evaluation of the abuser (or of you) to be conducted by an independent court-appointed evaluator who qualifies as an expert in the field of domestic abuse; and
- Order the abuser to attend counseling.2
In addition, the law says that the abuser must ("shall") pay for all of your court costs, attorney fees, costs of enforcing or modifying the order, costs of appeals, evaluation fees, and expert witness fees based on filing or defending any proceeding concerning a domestic abuse protection order. The abuser must also pay for all costs of medical and psychological care for you (the abused adult), or for any of your children when the care is needed due to the domestic violence.3
Note: Louisiana law prohibits the defendant (abuser) from possessing a firearm while the long-term protective order is in effect if the order includes a finding that the defendant represents a credible (believable) threat to the petitioner's physical safety and the order includes a notice to the defendant about this law and the federal firearm law.4
1 LA R.S. § 46:2183(A)
2 LA R.S. §§ 46:2135; 46:2136
3 LA R.S. § 46:2136.1
4 LA R.S. § 46:2136.3