Protective Order Assistance
About Protective Orders
If you are in danger or afraid your abused may harm you, call 911 immediately.
A protective order is a legal document issued by a magistrate or a judge to help you protect yourself, your children, and/or other family or household members from someone who is hurting your or causing you fear.
A protective order is a legal tool to help protect against future violence, force, or threats. It is not a shield. Survivors are in the most danger immediately after leaving the abusive relationship.
You are not required to file criminal charges in order to request a protective order.
The person requesting the Protective Order is referred to as the petitioner. The person from whom the petitioner is seeking protection is the respondent. You should bring the respondent’s home and work address with you. Petitions can be requested without an attorney and there is no fee to file the petition.
Protection begins once the respondent is personally served with the order.
Qualifying for a Protective Order
To qualify for a protective order, you must have been, within a reasonable period of time, subjected to an act of force or a threat of violence that places you in reasonable fear for your own, or your children’s, safety and well being.
Violence force or threat that results in bodily injury or places you in reasonable fear of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury.
Petition for a Protective Order
The type of relationship that you have (or had) with the person who is threatening or harming you determines where you need to petition for a protective order.
Family Abuse Protective Order
The type of relationship that you have (or had) with the person who is threatening or harming you determines where you need to petition for a protective order. If that person is a family or household member (PDF) you can request a family abuse protective order through the intake office for the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court
Domestic and Sexual Violence Protective Orders
Chesterfield Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court
7000 Lucy Corr Blvd
Chesterfield, VA 23832
Protective orders with criminal charges
Protective orders with no criminal charges
Domestic & Sexual Violence Resource Center (DSVRC): 804-318-8264
You would also petition for a protective order in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court if either the petitioner or the respondent is under the age of 18 or the person for whom you are filing the petition is under the age of 18.
All Other Protective Orders
All other requests for protective orders that do not meet the definition of a family or household member are made through the General District Court Clerk’s Office.
Non-Familial Protective Orders
Chesterfield General District Court
9500 Courthouse Road
Chesterfield, VA 23832
Per Virginia Code section §18.2-308.1:4, a person subject to a permanent family abuse protective order cannot possess or transport a firearm for 24-hours from the time the order is served.
Emergency Protective Order (EPO)
An Emergency Protective Order (EPO) is generally issued if an arrest for assault and battery has been made.
- An EPO lasts up to 72 hours and is issued by a magistrate or by a judge. If court is not in session at the time of expiration, it will expire at 5 p.m. on the next business day that court is in session.
- An EPO is not automatically extended. If you want to extend your protective order, you must file for a Preliminary Protective Order to request a hearing in front of a judge. You should do this as quickly as possible to avoid an expiration of your protective order.
Preliminary Protective Order (PPO)
A Preliminary Protective Order (PPO) can be obtained if a recent act of abuse has occurred or in cases of immediate and present danger.
- A PPO is temporary protection that lasts up to 15 days or until a full hearing where both the petitioner and respondent are present.
- A PPO is issued by a judge. Filing a petition is not a guarantee that any order will be issued by the judge.
To obtain a Preliminary Protective order, you must file a request called a petition. You are not required to have an EPO in order to request a PPO. Depending on the relationship between the parties, you will file the petition with the Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court Intake Office or through the General District Court Clerk’s Office. (You can call the Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court Intake Office to explain your family or household member relationship to help you determine where to file your petition.) The respondent is not usually present at the Preliminary Protective Order hearing.
Permanent Protective Order (PO)
A Permanent Protective Order (PO) may be issued by a judge after a hearing where both parties are present and explain their information. The petitioner must convince the judge why the order should be entered by proving the threat of force or violence. The final order can last for up to two years.