Step 6: The hearing for a permanent restraining order
A judge will set a hearing date within 10 days of filing for your order.1
You must go to the hearing. If you do not go to the hearing, your temporary order will expire, and you will have to start the process over. If the abuser does not show up for the hearing the judge may still grant you a restraining order, or the judge may order a new hearing date.
You have the right to bring a lawyer to represent you at the hearing. If you show up to court and the abuser has a lawyer and you do not, you may ask the judge for a continuance to set a later court date so you can have time to find a lawyer for yourself. It can be especially difficult to represent yourself in court against an attorney. If the judge does issue a continuance, the judge should also reissue or extend your temporary order since your original one will probably expire before the rescheduled hearing. You may want to call a local domestic violence program if you have any questions before your hearing. Go to our VI Advocates and Shelters for a list domestic violence organizations.
See the At the Hearing page for ways you can show the judges you were abused.
1 VI ST T. 16 § 97(a)