A restraining order is a court order that makes it illegal for the abuser to harm you, come near you or contact you in any way. It can also make other orders to protect you. Sometimes, restraining orders can also protect your children or people who live in your home.
The specific details about what a restraining order can and cannot do depend on the laws of each state. In most states, though, violation of a restraining order is a crime. Because of this, a restraining order can be a powerful tool. If you have a restraining order, you don’t have to wait until you are actually hurt or threatened by the abuser before calling the police; you can call the police as soon as the abuser comes near you or contacts you in any way. The police should respond more quickly to your call for help when you have a restraining order.
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