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Legal Information: Missouri

Restraining Orders

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November 14, 2019

What is the legal definition of domestic violence in Missouri?

This section defines domestic violence for the purposes of getting an order of protection.

For the purpose of filing for an order of protection, domestic violence is when a family or household member:

  1. commits stalking; or
  2. commits, attempts to commit, or threatens to commit abuse, which is defined as any of the following acts:1
  • Assault: purposely placing or attempting to place you in fear of physical harm;
  • Battery: purposely causing physical harm to you with or without a deadly weapon;
  • Coercion: using force or a threat of force to make you do something or to stop you from doing something;
  • Harassment: committing acts (more than once) that causes you or your child alarm or substantial emotional distress and serves no legitimate purpose. For example:
    • following you or your child in a public place;
    • peering in the window or lingering outside your home;
  • Sexual assault: causing or attempting to cause you to engage involuntarily in any sexual act by force, threat of force, duress (coercion/pressure), or without your consent;
  • Unlawful imprisonment: holding, confining, detaining or abducting you against your will.2

Stalking is defined as when someone purposely acts in a way that reasonably causes you alarm and that serves no legitimate purpose. The actions must occur two or more times. Examples of stalking behavior are repeatedly following you or making unwanted communication / contact with you.3

1 MO ST §§ 455.010(5); 455.020(1)
2 MO ST § 455.010(1)
3 MO ST § 455.010(14)