Who can file for a sexual violence protection order?
A sexual violence protection order can be requested by the victim, his/her lawyer, the prosecutor, or a law enforcement officer.1
The following people can also request the order on behalf of someone else in case of an emergency, if the person suffers from a physical or mental disability, or if there is another reason that prevents the person from requesting the order him/herself:
- a parent, family member, or person responsible for a minor;
- a school teacher, principal, or social worker;
- a prosecutor;
- a police officer;
- an advocate of Children’s Affairs (el/la Procurador/a de Menores);
- an advocate of Family Matters (el/la Procurador de Asuntos de Familia); or
- an officer authorized by the Department of Family Services.2
1 8 L.P.R.A. § 1281
2 8 L.P.R.A. § 1284
What are the steps to get a sexual violence protection order?
You can file for this type of order through a verbal or written petition, or within a pending case. If there is a criminal case about the sexual violence incident, for example, the prosecutor can also request the order for you.1 To find a complete list of who can file for an order, see Who can file for a sexual violence protection order?
The Court Clerk’s Office of Puerto Rico has the forms to request the order and can also help and guide you through the process of filling them out and filing them.2
Once the petition is filed, the judge will issue a summons for a hearing that will take place in 20 days or less, which must be served to the other party. This service of process will be done by a court bailiff, the police, or anyone over the age of 18 who is not involved in the case.3 Failure of the abuser to attend the hearing intentionally is considered contempt of court.4 If you cannot attend the hearing on the scheduled date, it’s important that you contact the court clerk’s office to let them know.
1 8 L.P.R.A. § 1285(a)
2 8 L.P.R.A. § 1285(b)
3 8 L.P.R.A. § 1285(c)
4 8 L.P.R.A. § 1285(d)