A protective order can be one tool to achieve a stronger sense of safety. A protective order can be filed by an adult over the age of 18. If your child needs a protective order, you must be their legal parent or guardian to file on their behalf. To qualify, you or the child must be the victim of family violence, stalking, a sex offense, or harassment. When you file on your own, this is called pro se. A protective order is a request to a judge asking for there to be restrictions put in place regarding direct and indirect contact with the person you are filing against. You would file because you have concerns for your safety if contact were to continue. An active protective order can also restrict a person from specific addresses, like a workplace or residence. The respondent is the person that you would be filing against. Other types of relief can be requested as well.
All filed orders are reviewed by a judge. The judge can grant the order, in which it is usually valid for 2 years. They can deny it because it does not meet the statute. The judge may also request a hearing that you will need to attend. If it is granted, the respondent still has the right to request a hearing within 30 days. At the hearing, you have the option of hiring an attorney. You are not required to do this. If there is a hearing, it is likely that the judge will want to hear testimony from you. If there is a hearing for an order filed on behalf of a child, it is likely that the judge will want to speak with your child.
You can meet with an advocate in order to help you understand how to file the order. Protective Order Walk-In hours are generally Monday-Thursday from 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM and Friday from 1:00 PM until 4:00 PM. Please contact the Prevail office (317) 773-6942 or check our Agency Calendar to verify if there are any office closings. There is an online portal that is available to anyone who is interested in filing a protective order on their own, from the comfort of their own home. It is recommended that you receive the support of an advocate when filing. The portal is located at: public.courts.in.gov/porefsp#/