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Legal Information: Washington

Restraining Orders

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December 3, 2020

What is a civil anti-harassment order? Who is eligible?

A civil anti-harassment order is a court order that tells the abuser to stop harassing you.  For more information on how an order may help you, see How can a civil anti-harassment order help me?

You do not have to have any specific type of relationship with the abuser (for example, the abuser may or may not be related or married to you; s/he could be a significant other, neighbor, co-worker, or relative).1  Therefore, if you do not meet the requirements to get a domestic violence order for protection due to your relationship to the abuser or due to the fact that the harassment does not meet the legal definition of “domestic violence,” you may be able to file for an anti-harassment order instead.

However, if you do qualify for a domestic violence order for protection or sexual assault protection order based on the harassment, or if you have a no-contact order from a criminal court based on the harassment, then you are most likely not eligible for an anti-harassment order.2  You would have to apply for the domestic violence order for protection or sexual assault protection order instead.

Note: If you are going to apply for an anti-harassment order, remember to be specific about how the abuser has harassed you and about the effect it had on you.  According to the law, harassment must involve a series of acts.  A single incident, no matter how much it may bother you, does not constitute legal harassment.

1 See R.C.W. § 10.14.080
2 R.C.W. § 10.14.130