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Legal Information: South Carolina

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
December 8, 2020

What is the legal definition of abuse in South Carolina?

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

South Carolina law defines abuse as when a “family or household member”:

  • physically harms you or threatens to do so;
  • physically injures you;
  • assaults you; or
  • rapes you or commits another sexual criminal offense against you.1

A family or household member is defined as:

  • a spouse or ex-spouse;
  • someone who you have a child in common with; or
  • someone who you live(d) with.2

Note: If the acts of the abuser do not fit in this definition, or if you don’t have the required relationship with the abuser, you may still be eligible for a restraining order against stalking or harassment. See our Restraining Orders Against Stalking or Harassment page for more information.

1 S.C. Code § 20-4-20(a)
2 S.C. Code § 20-4-20(b); Jane Doe v. State of South Carolina, 421 S.C. 490, 808 S.E.2d 807 (2017)