What can I do if the abuser violates the order?
If the abuser violates the restraining order, you can immediately call 911. Violating any part of your restraining order could result in the judge holding the abuser in contempt of court. Here are some things you may want to do when the police respond to your call:
- Make sure that the officers make a report so there will be a record of the violation.
- Write down the officer’s name, badge number, and report number.
- Make sure a police report is filled out, even if no arrest is made. If you have legal documentation of all violations of the order, it may help you have the order extended or modified, if necessary, in the future.
The police officer may arrest the abuser for the violation. According to the law, a police officer must arrest the abuser and take him/her into custody (without a warrant) when the police officer has probable cause to believe that a restraining order:
- was properly served; and
- was violated.1
If the police arrest the abuser, a court hearing may be set to have him/her found in “contempt of court” for violating the restraining order. In Oregon, the act of violating a family abuse prevention order act restraining order is not a crime, but the judge can punish the abuser if the judge finds that the abuser is in contempt of court.2 At the contempt hearing, if the abuser is found in contempt of court, the maximum punishment could be a fine and/or up to six months in jail.
The restraining order can play an important role in protecting yourself, but you may still wish to create a safety plan or go to a local domestic violence program for additional help in keeping yourself as safe as possible. For additional help, please see our Safety Tips and Oregon Advocates and Shelters pages.
For more information about contempt, including the difference between criminal contempt and civil contempt, go to our general Domestic Violence Restraining Orders page.
1 O.R.S. § 133.310(3)
2Bachman v. Bachman, 16 P.3d 1185 (OR 2000)