Who can get a domestic violence restraining order?
You can get a temporary restraining order or permanent restraining order against:
- your current or former spouse;
- a parent;
- a child;
- any other person related to you by blood or marriage;1
- someone of the opposite sex who lives in your home or has lived in your home;2
- an individual with whom you have a child in common;
- a person with whom you have been or are in a sexual or intimate relationship.1
1 VI ST T. 16 § 91(c)
2 VI ST T. 16 § 91(a), (c)
Can I get a domestic violence restraining order against a same-sex partner?
In the U.S. Virgin Islands, you may apply for a domestic violence restraining order against a current or former same-sex partner as long as the relationship meets the requirements listed in Who can get a domestic violence restraining order? You must also be the victim of an act of domestic violence, which is explained here What is the legal definition of domestic violence in the U.S. Virgin Islands?
You can find information about LGBTQIA victims of abuse and what types of barriers they may face on our LGBTQIA Victims page.
Can minors get domestic violence restraining orders?
Parents or guardians can request restraining orders on behalf of their child, if the child is under 18. The abuser must have committed a crime of domestic violence against the child and the child must have a relationship with the abuser.1
What if I don't qualify for a domestic violence restraining order?
If you do not qualify for a domestic violence restraining order, you may still be able to get help if the abuser has committed a crime. For example, assault, stalking, and harassment are against the law. If one of these crimes (or any other criminal act) is being committed against you, you can report it to law enforcement. If charges are pressed against the abuser, a judge may be able to order him/her to stay away from you. To read the definitions of some common crimes in the U.S. Virgin Islands, go to our VI Crimes page.
You can also visit our Safety Tips page for ways to increase your safety. If you are being stalked or harassed, the Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center website for more resources related to stalking and harassment, as well safety planning information. Restraining orders also do not cover many types of emotional or mental abuse. If you’re being mentally or emotionally abused, please contact a domestic violence organization in your area. They may be able to help you figure out your options and offer you support. You can find one near you on the VI Advocates and Shelters page.
How much does it cost to get a domestic violence restraining order? Do I need a lawyer?
Nothing. There is no filing fee to get a restraining order.1
Although you do not need a lawyer to file for a restraining order, it may be to your advantage to have a lawyer, especially if the abuser has a lawyer. Even if the abuser does not have a lawyer, if you can, it is recommended that you contact a lawyer to make sure that your legal rights are protected. If you cannot afford a lawyer but want one to help you with your case, you can find information on legal assistance and domestic violence organizations on the VI Places that Help page. Domestic violence organizations in your area and/or court staff may be able to answer some of your questions or help you fill out the necessary court forms. You will find contact information for courthouses on the VI Courthouse Locations page.
1U.S. Virgin Islands Superior Court website
If you are going to be in court without a lawyer, our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section may be useful to you.