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Legal Information: Rhode Island

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
November 19, 2019

What is a sexual assault protective order?

Similar to a domestic violence restraining order, a sexual assault protective order is a court order that can protect you from an abuser if you are the victim of sexual assault.1

1 RI Gen. Laws § 11-37.2-2(a)

What is the legal definition of sexual assault?

For the purposes of getting a sexual assault protective order, “sexual assault” is defined as:

1 RI Gen. Laws § 11-37.2-2(a)

What types of sexual assault protective orders are there? How long do they last?

There are two types of sexual assault protective orders – temporary orders and final orders.

Temporary orders – When you file a petition for a sexual assault protective order, you can ask for a temporary, ex parte restraining order to be issued immediately. A judge can grant you a temporary order if the judge decides that your petition shows that you will suffer immediate and permanent injury, loss, or damage without an order. The judge can issue this order ex parte, which means that the abuser does not receive prior notice and is not present at the hearing. A temporary order can last for up to 21 days.1

Final orders – A final sexual assault protective order can be issued after the respondent has an opportunity to participate in a hearing where the judge hears evidence from both parties. The order can last up to three years.2

1 RI Gen. Laws § 11-37.2-3
2 RI Gen. Laws § 11-37.2-2(d)

What protections can I get in a sexual assault protective order?

In a sexual assault protective order, a judge can order that the respondent not:

  • contact you;
  • assault you;
  • molest you; and
  • interfere with you at home, on the street, or anywhere else.1

1 RI Gen. Laws § 11-37.2-2(a)