What Is a Harassment Restraining Order?

By Chuck Hinson
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Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of spaceodissey

If someone at work, school or in a social setting is purposely bothering you in a manner that causes you to feel nervous, unsafe or even threatened, you are being harassed. To prevent someone from continuing to do so, you can ask the courts to issue a restraining order against that person.

Purpose

A harassment restraining order can keep the offender from contacting you in any way. It can also keep him from having anyone else contact you on his behalf, and often he is ordered by law to physically stay a specific distance from you at all times.

How to File the Order

In order to have a restraining order issued, go to your local courthouse and file a Petitioner's Affidavit and Petition for Restraining Order. An administrator of the court will help you should you have any questions. You may be required to pay a filing fee upon completion of the document. If a child is a victim of harassment, his parent or guardian can file a restraining order against the respondent on behalf of that child.

Issuance

The court may decide to issue a temporary restraining order against the respondent, or the one against whom the order is filed. This will be effective until a court hearing is held to establish a permanent order.

Serving the Order

After a judge has signed the restraining order, a copy of the order is given to the sheriff's office of the county in which you live. Normally, a deputy sheriff then personally delivers the order to the respondent. It is important to check with the sheriff's office to ensure that the order has been delivered. If you do not follow up on the order and it has not been delivered within two weeks, normally the temporary order will expire.

Court Hearing

For the court to issue a restraining order that can last for two years, it is vital that you attend the scheduled hearing. If you have any witnesses to the harassment or documentation that supports your case, be sure to bring those with you.

Considerations

If you should move at any time, it is important to give the administrators of the court your new address. This will be necessary in order to keep the restraining order fully enforceable.

About the Author

Chuck Hinson has been a published writer for 33 years, beginning as a syndicated columnist with Southeast Charlotte News. In 1994, he joined Tri-State Christian News as editor and weekly columnist while providing entertainment columns for the monthly newspaper The Window Today. Hinson received his education from Central Piedmont Community College and the University of North Carolina (Charlotte).