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 courthouse.
- If something is wrong or missing, ask the clerk to correct the order before you leave.
- Make several copies of the restraining order as soon as possible.
- Keep a copy of the order with you at all times. Inform your employer, domestic violence advocate, family members, and/or your closest friends that you have a restraining order in effect.
- Leave copies of the order at your work place, at your home, at the children’s 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.
- You may wish to consider changing your locks (if permitted by law) and your phone number, as well as taking other security precautions.
It is important to recognize that a restraining order has limits. You have the right to report every violation to the police or the court. 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 restraining 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 Safety Tips.
Also, advocates at local domestic violence organizations may be able to assist you in designing a safety plan and can provide other forms of support. To find an advocate in your area please visit the VI Advocates and Shelters page.