Domestic violence is all too prevalent in our justice system. Being armed with knowledge is a powerful tool if you find yourself in a situation that warrants protecting your well-being with an Order of Protection.
Order of Protection: Scenario
Hypothetical: Jane has been in a rough relationship with John for several years. Arguments often lead to yelling and cursing, and occasionally things become violent. One night, John gets especially angry and hits Jane several times. Jane calls the police. John is arrested and the police assist Jane in obtaining an Order of Protection. Jane’s court date is fast approaching and John is out on bail. Jane doesn’t want to go home, so she is staying with a friend. She is frightened of going to court, seeing John, and reliving the horrible event. Jane doesn’t know what to do, what may happen after court, or who to turn to for help.
Order of Protection: explained
Orders of Protection were placed into Tennessee law (T.C.A. §36-3-601 et. al.) to protect victims of domestic violence and domestic abuse.
When an Order of Protection is initially filed, an Ex-Parte Order is issued for good cause. Once the Ex-Parte Order is served on the accused, the accused is not allowed to come in contact with the victim in any way. Should the accused ignore this order, they could be charged with criminal contempt.
A court date is set within 15 days of the Ex-Parte Order. During the hearing, the victim must show by a preponderance of the evidence that the allegations made against the alleged abuser are, in fact, true.
The requirements by law
Under the statute, for the Court to issue an Order of Protection against the alleged abused, the parties must have been current or former spouses, roommates, been in a dating relationship, related by blood, adoption, or marriage.
The abuse that could lead to the issuance of an Order of Protection by the Court are provided below.
- physical abuse, fear of physical abuse
- malicious damage to personal property including harming or threatening harm to a pet
- sexual assault
Finding & filing the order
Order of Protection forms, as approved by the Tennessee Supreme Court, are available on their website. All Orders of Protection can be filed at the County Court Clerk’s office.
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