What should I do when I leave the courthouse?
Here are some things you may want to consider doing. However, you will have to evaluate each one to see if it works for your situation.
- Review the order before you leave the court room. If something is wrong or missing, ask the clerk to correct the order before you leave.
- Make several copies of the protective order as soon as possible.
- Keep a copy of the order with you at all times.
- Leave copies of the order at your work place, at your home, at the childrens school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on.
- Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work.
- Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
- The court should file a copy of your order with the local law enforcement agency. Check and make sure a copy has been filed. Take one of your extra copies and deliver it to the police if necessary.
- You may wish to consider changing your locks (if permitted by law) and your phone number, as well as taking other security precautions.
You may also wish to make a safety plan. People can do a number of things to increase their safety during violent incidents, when preparing to leave an abusive relationship, and when they are at home, work, and school. Many abusers obey protective orders, but some do not and it is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe. Click on the following link for suggestions on Staying Safe. Also, advocates at local domestic violence organizations can assist you in designing a safety plan and can provide other forms of support. To find a shelter or advocate in your area please visit the VA Advocates and Shelters page.