Restraining and protective orders
This is not legal advice.
This resource page was assembled by OCADSV staff for informational purposes only. The information presented on this page is not intended to be legal advice, nor does it substitute for legal advice. If you have any questions, contact a qualified attorney.
Types of protective orders
In the state of Oregon, there are three types of court-issued protective orders that pertain specifically to survivors of violence.
The law offers the protection of Family Abuse Protection Act (FAPA) orders to victims of domestic violence, whether or not a victim has reported the abuse to the police. A FAPA order is free, and a victim does not need an attorney to get one, although an attorney is recommended if an abuser contests the order.
FAPA orders are available in every county in Oregon. Once issued, a FAPA order is effective for 12 months, unless the court terminates or extends the order.
The court must hold a hearing, by telephone or in person, the day or the day after a victim files for a FAPA order.
A sheriff or another qualified person must serve the abuser with a copy of the order. After the abuser receives it he has 30 days to ask for a hearing, which must be held within 21 days of that request (5 days if a child is involved). The judge may change or cancel the order based on information received at the hearing. Changes in custody or visitation rights may be requested at any time while the order is in effect.
Local and state law enforcement officers are required to enforce the terms and conditions of all FAPA orders. An abuser who violates a FAPA order can be jailed for up to six months and fined up to $300.
If a victim and an abuser later divorce, and the provisions of the divorce decree are different from the provisions of the FAPA order, the divorce decree will take precedence. It is important to remember that a FAPA order does not guarantee safety. If you are a victim of domestic violence contact an advocate to make a safety plan.
Who can file for a FAPA order?
A victim of domestic violence is eligible to obtain a FAPA order if she meets the following criteria:
- S/he was the victim of abuse within the past six months; or s/he was the victim of abuse more than six months ago, and the abuser has been in prison or jail or has lived more than 100 miles from her in the past six months; AND
- The abuse was bodily injury, or attempted bodily injury, or the threat of immediate serious bodily injury, or sexual abuse, or rape; AND
- S/he is related to or intimately involved with the abuser--that is, s/he is the abuser's spouse or former spouse, or the abuser's in-law or relative, or is in a sexually intimate relationship with the abuser, or is the biological co-parent (with the abuser) of a minor child; AND
- S/he is at least 18 years old, is an "emancipated" minor, or is younger than 18 but married to or sexually intimate with an abuser who is 18 or older.
What a FAPA order can do
A FAPA order can:
- Require an abuser to stop contacting, abusing, threatening, or interfering with a victim and with children in her custody;
- Forbid an abuser to enter a victim's home, school, place of business, or other specified place;
- Order an abuser out of the home if a victim is sole or part owner of the home;
- Require police to stand guard while the person leaving the home removes personal belongings;
- Give a victim of domestic violence temporary legal custody of the children if the children are in her physical custody or, if they are not, grant her visitation rights.
Effective January 1st, 2014, the state of Oregon will begin issuing and enforcing orders for protection ("restraining orders") to survivors who have been sexually assaulted by someone other than an intimate partner. This new civil legal provision, which has already been passed into law and successfully implemented in Washington state (among many others), bridges a major gap for many survivors whose situations do not fit the issuing criteria for Family Abuse Protection Act (FAPA) orders or Stalking Protective orders.
- Oregon SAPO Summary contains a brief overview of the issuing criteria, protections and limitations of a Sexual Abuse Protective Order (SAPO). Many thanks to Kim Larson (Marion County District Attorney's Victim Assistance Division) and Robin Selig (Oregon Law Center) for compiling and condensing the legal statute into an easily understood format.
- The Oregon Judicial Department has released a comprehensive set of information on Sexual Abuse Protective Orders, their implications, and the forms and other documents necessary to request one through the court system.
According to the Oregon Judicial Department and WomensLaw.org:
Under Oregon law, stalking is when:
- A person makes you afraid by engaging in repeated and unwanted contact, OR
- A person makes an immediate family (or household) member afraid by engaging in repeated and unwanted contact.*
To qualify as stalking, your situation ALSO must meet the following requirements:
- A reasonable person in your situation would have been alarmed or coerced by the contact, and
- The repeated [at least two] and unwanted contact causes you or a member of your immediate family (or household) to reasonably fear for their physical safety.**
Unwanted contact is when a person:
- Comes near you or into your sight;
- Follows you;
- Waits outside your home, workplace, or school;
- Communicates with you in any way (mail, email, phone, or through another person); or
- Damages your home, workplace, or school.***
A person may obtain a Stalking Protective Order if he/she or a member of the immediate family or household has been the subject of stalking and qualifies under Oregon law. For more information on obtaining a Stalking Protection Order, visit OregonLawHelp.org or the Oregon Judiciary Department website.
How to request a protective order
If you are unfamiliar with the civil-legal justice process, we recommend connecting with an advocate in your community. They can help guide you in this process and have experience and training working with survivors of abuse in the courts system.
The Oregon Judicial Department has recently made its Family Abuse Protection Act (FAPA) forms available online, which you can now pre-fill and print before going to the county courthouse. You'll still need to file the paperwork and provide any additional testimony in person, but this new resource promises to help speed up the process. Please use a SAFE COMPUTER to access and fill out these forms.
Enforcing a protective order
Violating the terms of a court-issued order of protection is a CRIME. The specific terms and conditions of the protective order are spelled out based upon the circumstances which led to its issuance, and these terms must be adhered to by all named parties.
*** If the terms of a court-issued protective order are being violated and/or you are in danger, call 9-1-1 immediately. ***
Out-of-state protective orders
Orders for protection issued by ANY COURT IN THE STATE OF OREGON are effective and fully-enforceable throughout the state. For example, a valid (i.e.: not expired or revoked/rescinded) protective order issued by the Marion County Circuit Court in Salem will be honored and is fully-enforcable in The Dalles.
Protective orders from outside the state MAY NOT be enforceable in Oregon, in some cases. There are numerous factors at play, including data-sharing relationships between the issuing court and your current locale (or the lack thereof), pre-established extradition agreements (or the lack thereof), and differences in categorizations of criminal activity, among others.
If your current protective order was issued outside Oregon, we strongly recommend contacting the issuing jurisdiction as printed on your protective order paperwork, then your local law enforcement agency to confirm. In some cases, especially if you are relocating to Oregon, it may be safer and easier to apply for a new order of protection from an Oregon court.