Civil Harassment and Restraining Orders
A civil harassment order is a restraining order available to victims being harassed by someone they do not have a domestic relationship with, such as a friend, neighbor or even a stranger. (If the victim has a domestic relationship with the person who is harassing them, the victim should be applying for a domestic violence restraining order instead.)
A civil harassment order can last up to three years and may be renewed after that. There is a filing fee to apply for a civil harassment order, however that fee may be waived based on the victim’s ability to pay or if the abuser has caused physical harm to the victim.
A victim can qualify for a civil harassment order if the harasser has intentionally committed a series of acts (more than one) which are frightening, annoying or harassing, and which have caused the victim substantial emotional distress. The harasser does not have to be related to the victim in any way, but the victim must be able to identify the person and find him or her to serve the papers.
A civil harassment order can order the harasser:
- To stay away from the victim, the victim’s home, school, work or children’s school;
- Not to telephone or contact the victim;
- Not to frighten, intimidate, annoy or harass the victim;
- Not to threaten or make any physical contact with the victim;
- Not to keep the victim under surveillance or follow the victim; and
- Not to block the victim’s movement in public places.
It can also protect the victim’s family or anyone else in the home from the harassment and can order the person who lost the case (either the harasser or the victim) to pay the other person’s court costs and attorney’s fees.
Violation of a civil harassment order is a crime.
Bidari Civil Defense is committed to protecting victims of civil harassment and zealously pursue not only restraining orders, but also their enforcement.