How to Write a Statement for Restraining Orders

Woman writing a first draft letter in a notebook
••• psphotograph/iStock/GettyImages

Writing a statement as part of a restraining order request is one of the more difficult things a person can do. Chances are, the person you are trying to keep away from you is someone you are close to. Further, writing the report will involve digging up some painful memories. However, you must keep yourself safe. Writing a statement for a restraining order is one of the first concrete steps you can take to ensure your physical safety from someone who has tried to harm you.

Write a First Draft

Write a first draft. It's important to not use your first written statement as the statement of record. Remember that this is a very important statement and must include everything. When doing your first draft, write things down in an open-ended way that allows you to add to it later. Chances are you will think of other things after writing your first draft.

Use Short Sentences

Use short, declarative statements. The most powerful statements you can make in a restraining order statement are ones about things that have actually happened. Do not beat around the bush or mince words. Use short, clearly worded sentences. Always keep your focus on things that happened and things that were said rather than your feelings about them.

Document Police Involvement

Document any police involvement. Try to get reports from any times you have called the police on your abuser. This can be obtained from the police station. If you can't obtain the actual reports, include as much information about the event as possible. Date, time and name of officer dispatched will be helpful in corroborating your story.

Stay on Point

Keep it short and omit unnecessary information. The person you're seeking a restraining order against may be a bad person for a variety of reasons. However, the only reasons that are legally relevant are violence and verbal threats. Leave out any other reasons you may be angry. It only confuses the issue.

Type Up Your Statement

Type up your statement. Everything up until now has just been notes. Your statement should be typed and in a professional, business-letter format. Begin with a very general summary of your complaint. Mention any violent crimes the person may have committed. Devote a paragraph each to the most recent and most noteworthy acts of violence and threats, and a full narrative of your abuse history. Use exact dates and quotes whenever possible. Try to keep your statement to one page, if possible.

State Your Fears

End your statement with your specific fears. Your fears aren't concrete information, but they probably have a basis in reality. This is your summary paragraph. Talk about why you feel it was necessary to take this step.

Make Copies

Make copies. It's good to have several copies of your statement. Five copies is the standard number. This includes a copy for the judge, the prosecuting attorney, the defense attorney and a probation officer if the offender has one. Don't forget to make a copy for your records.

Don't be afraid to ask for help. The prosecuting attorney is a good place to start, and community victim services associations should also be able to offer assistance.

Related Articles