Civil Harassment   -Restraining Order-

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- Restraining Order - Get The Help You Need to Protect Yourself

Unfortunately, thousands of people are victims of harassment, domestic abuse, stalking, and sexual assault every year. Protecting yourself from a dangerous acquaintance, love interest, or family member can sometimes require you to get a restraining order against them. Learn more about restraining orders and how to obtain one below.

What is a Restraining Order?

According to the California Superior Court, a civil harassment restraining order is a court order that helps protect people from violence, stalking, serious harassment, or threats of violence.

You can request a civil harassment restraining order if:

  • A person has abused (or threatened to abuse), sexually assaulted, stalked, or seriously harassed you, and
  • You are scared or seriously annoyed or harassed.

What a Restriction Order can do?

According to the California Superior Court, a restraining order is a court order. It can order the restrained person to:

  • Not contact you or any member of your household;
  • Not go near you, your children, or others who live with you, no matter where you go;
  • Stay away from your work, your school, your children’s school; or
  • Not having a gun.

Once the court issues (makes) a restraining order, it goes into a statewide computer system. This means that law enforcement officers across California can see there is a restraining order in place.

If you think you have a civil harassment case but would like information about trying to resolve it out of court, click to watch the video Resolving Your Civil Harassment Case in the California Courts (also available in Spanish).

What about if the intimidator is a person close to me?

Generally, for a civil harassment restraining orders, the person you want to restrain is not:

  • Your spouse/partner or former spouse/partner,
  • Someone you dated at any point, or
  • A close relative (parent, child, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, in-law).

If you have a close relationship like one of these, consider whether a domestic violence restraining order is best for your situation.

In a civil harassment restraining order, you can ask to restrain:

  • A neighbor,
  • A roommate,
  • A friend,
  • A family member more than 2 degrees removed, like an aunt or uncle, a niece or nephew, cousins, and more distant relatives, or
  • Other people you are not closely related to.

Types of Restriction Orders


Emergency Protective Order (EPO)

An EPO is a type of restraining order that only law enforcement can ask for by calling a judge. Judges are available to issue EPOs 24 hours a day.

Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)

When you go to court to ask for a civil harassment restraining order, you fill out paperwork where you tell the judge everything that has happened and why you need a restraining order.

“Permanent” Restraining Order (Restraining Order After Hearing)

When you go to court for the hearing that was scheduled for your TRO, the judge may issue a “permanent” restraining order. They are not really “permanent” because they usually last up to 5 years.

Criminal Protective Order or “Stay-Away” Order

Sometimes, when there is an incident of violence or severe harassment (or series of incidents), the district attorney will file criminal charges against the person committing the violence.

For more information about restriction orders in California,  please go to the California Superior Court Civil Harassment website.

How I can start the process?

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