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Legal Information: Rhode Island

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of
November 30, 2023

What if I don't qualify for a restraining order?

If you don’t qualify for a restraining order, there may still be other options for you. First, remember that the abuser may be committing a crime, which you can report to the police and s/he may be arrested. If s/he is arrested and prosecuted for a crime involving domestic violence (see list below), the judge will issue a no contact order when s/he is arraigned (formally charged in court). The no contact order would prohibit him/her from having any contact with you. You do not have to file for the order yourself – the judge would issue it on your behalf without you being present.1

The following crimes are considered domestic violence crimes when committed by your family or household member and could result in you getting a no contact order if the abuser is arrested:

Note: “Family or household member” means spouses, former spouses, adults related by blood or marriage, adults who are presently living together or who have lived together at some point in the past 3 years, and people who have a child in common together (regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together), or people who are or have been in a serious dating or engagement relationship within the past year.3

Another way to get a restraining order could be through your employer who can file for a workplace restraining order based on violence, threats, or stalking committed against you by anyone, regardless of your relationship to that person. Go to our Workplace Restraining Orders page for more information.

You can also visit our Safety Planning page for ways to increase your safety. If you are being stalked or harassed, you can also go to our Stalking/Cyberstalking page to learn more about stalking in general and for additional resources. Aside from physical abuse and stalking, if you are being mentally or emotionally abused, please contact a domestic violence organization in your area. They can help you figure out your options and offer you support. See RI Advocates and Shelters for contact information.

1 RI Gen. Laws § 12-29-4(a)(1)
2 RI Gen. Laws § 12-29-2(a)
3 RI Gen. Laws § 12-29-2(b)