A person can be protected from an abusive party via an Order of Protection issued by Criminal Court or Family Court. These orders can direct the abusive party to:
- Stay away from you (and/or children). This can include your home, school, daycare, place of employment, or anywhere you may be.
- Not contact you in any form. This can include via phone, email, social media, by a third party, etc.
- Refrain from harassment, stalking, menacing, etc.
There are many other provisions that can be included in an order of protection including, but not limited to:
- Protections for pets
- Temporary custody of children
- Arrangements to remove personal belongings from a shared residence and other stipulations.
Criminal Court Orders of Protection
Issued by a Criminal Court Judge/Justice when an arrest has been made. This order can be issued with or without the person who has been victimized requesting or even consenting to an Order of Protection.
Family Court Orders of Protection
Issued by a Family Court Judge granting a Family Offense Petition. A Family Offense Petition is a document filed by a person who has been victimized asking a Judge to provide them with an Order of Protection. Family Offense Petitions are filed when a person is, or has been physically harmed, threatened or harassed by another person they have a familial relationship with. The Family Court Act refers to: Members of the same family or household; and is defined as follows:
- Persons legally married or formerly married
- Persons related by consanguinity (biologically related) or affinity (by marriage)
- Persons who have a child in common
- Persons who have been involved in an intimate relationship
A parent or legal guardian can file on behalf of minor children. An Order of Protection issued by Family Court offers the same protections for the victim/petitioner, and the same consequences for the offender/respondent as a Criminal Court Order. A Family Court Judge can issue an emergency (aka temporary) order with or without (ex parte) the respondent present. Temporary custody, child support, and /or spousal support can be requested in a temporary Order of Protection.
In either case, once the Order is signed by a Judge/Justice and is served upon the defendant/respondent it is considered valid. An Order of Protection is not in effect until it is served on or received by the defendant/respondent. It is important to make copies of your Order and bring them to the places you most often stay or visit. It is also important for your child(ren)’s school or daycare to have a copy especially if the child(ren) are included on the Order. If the defendant/respondent disobeys the directives of the Order, he/she can be arrested.
For notifications regarding the service of an Order of Protection, the protected party can sign up for alerts at: Order of Protection Notification System (oopalert.ny.gov). The user will need the order number or docket number to sign up. Notifications can be received through text message, email, or phone call.