About Harassment Restraining Orders
Before you apply to get a Harassment Restraining Order (HRO), there are some things you should know.
What Can an HRO Do To Protect Me?
An HRO is a court order. It provides protection from harassment or stops another person from bothering you. It is not a criminal proceeding. It takes place in civil court.
The court can order the harasser to leave you alone and have no further contact with you. This includes stopping the telephone calls, letters, and e-mails. For example, the order can limit the number of times in a day or week or month you can be contacted. The order can state a specific number of feet the harasser must stay away from you. Or, the order may just say "stop calling."
Ask for everything you want the court to order in your petition for an HRO or you may not get what you want.
What Is the Difference Between Having an HRO and an Order for Protection (OFP)?
An OFP provides better protection. Police and the courts take an OFP more seriously. If you qualify for both, it is usually best to apply for an OFP.
Some behaviors do not meet the legal definition of domestic abuse, but do meet the definition of harassment. For example, repeated telephone calls from your ex-boyfriend threatening to take custody of the children away from you may be harassment, but now always domestic abuse. It may depend on if you were afraid of being harmed, or just really annoyed that the calls don't stop.
As another example, if your ex's new girlfriend is repeatedly making threatening calls by swearing at you and/or calling you bad names, that is harassment because you and the girlfriend are not in a kind of relationship that qualifies for an OFP.
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