How to Get a Restraining Order in Oregon

Man following a woman on the street
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The word "restrain" means to stop someone from doing something, and that pretty much sums up a restraining order in the state of Oregon: If an Oregon resident has been abused or threatened, they can file a petition with the court for a restraining order directing the abuser to stop this behavior.

Like most states, Oregon has a number of different types of restraining orders. The type that is applicable to a particular situation depends on the relationship between the abuser and the victim. Anyone living in Oregon should get an overview of restraining order laws and procedures in this state.

What Is a Restraining Order?

A restraining order is often termed a protective order, and both terms are literally correct. These orders come into play when there are abusers and victims. They are court directives that restrain the abuser's behavior – that is, stop them from doing the abusive or threatening behavior – while at the same time protecting the victim or victims, their children and their pets.

Protective orders are available in Oregon to protect against abuse, threats, assaults and stalking. Violation of a restraining order can result in imprisonment and/or a fine, depending on the circumstances of the case.

Types of Oregon Restraining Orders

Several types of restraining orders are available in Oregon, each applicable in different circumstances. Each is designed to protect against a specific risk. These include:

  • Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA) Restraining Order:‌ Available when the abuser is a family member of the victim or in a relationship with them.

  • Sexual Abuse Protective Order (SAPO):‌ Available when the abuser is a person not related to the victim of abuse and forced the victim to have nonconsensual sexual contact.

  • Stalking Protective Order (SPO):‌ Available when the abuser makes repeated unwanted contact.

  • Elderly Persons and Persons With Disabilities Abuse Prevention Act (EPPDAPA) Restraining Order‌: Available when the victim is over the age of 65 or disabled.

FAPA Restraining Order

The primary type of restraining order used in Oregon is the one issued under the Family Abuse Prevention Act. A FAPA restraining order under the Family Abuse Prevention Act protects a victim against an abuser who is in a current or recent intimate relationship with the victim, or who is or was married to them or who is or was a member of their family.

It orders the abuser to stop hurting, harassing, threatening or approaching the victim and their children.

Obtaining a FAPA Restraining Order

In order to get an FAPA restraining order, the victim must be at least 18 years old and have a close or familial relationship with the abuser. The abuser must be:

  • Victim's current or former spouse or domestic partner.
  • Someone the victim lives with or has lived with in an intimate sexual relationship.
  • Someone the victim has an intimate sexual relationship with or has had such a relationship within the past two years.
  • Someone related to the victim by blood, marriage or adoption.
  • Parent of the victim's child.

In Oregon, a victim under the age of 18 can get a FAPA order only if the abuser is over the age of 18 years and is the victim's current or former spouse or domestic partner or someone who has been in a sexual relationship with the victim.

A guardian ad litem will be appointed for any minor children in this situation.

Qualifying for FAPA Order in Oregon

To qualify for a FAPA restraining order in Oregon, the abuser must have done one or more acts within the last six months (180 days). These acts include:

  • Injured the victim physically.
  • Attempted to injure the victim physically.
  • Threatened to injure the victim physically.
  • Forced the victim to have sex by physical force or threats.

The 180 days does not include any period of time that the abuser spent in jail or at a distance of at least 100 miles from the victim's house.

For example, if the abuser hurt the victim on February 1, the victim would normally have until November 1 to get a restraining order based on that behavior. However, if the abuser was in jail in March, the victim would have 31 additional days to seek the order.

The overriding requirement is that the victim or their children must be in imminent danger, that is, ongoing and very immediate danger.

Contents of a FAPA Order in Oregon

A FAPA order can command an abuser to stop the behavior that is hurting or threatening the victim, but that is not all. The court can issue almost any orders that are necessary to protect the victim. For example, it can order the abuser to:

  • Move out of the house where the victim lives.
  • Keep away from that house.
  • Keep away from the victim's work site.
  • Keep away from the school of the victim's children.
  • Not keep guns.

Oregon Sexual Abuse Protective Order

If a victim is sexually abused by someone who is or was their spouse or domestic partner, someone who has been in an intimate sexual relationship with them, or someone who is a family member, the FAPA restraining order is available.

The Sexual Abuse Protective Order in Oregon is intended to offer a victim protection from an abuser who sexually abuses or assaults the victim, but is not a household member or in a relationship with the victim.

This SAPO order can contain any of a number of restrictions on the abuser's behavior. It can order them not to approach the victim's residence or other locations where the victim and their children spend their time. The judge can also add other conditions to the protective order that it believes will help keep the victim safe.

Defining Sexual Contact for a SAPO Order

A sexual abuse protection order is a civil order that can be issued by an Oregon court when the victim has been subjected to sexual abuse or unwanted, nonconsensual sexual contact, and who fears for their safety.

Sexual contact means the abuser touches the intimate body parts of the victim or forces the victim to touch the abuser's sexual body parts. It includes sexual assault, sodomy, rape and forced oral sex.

Temporary and Permanent Restraining Orders

There are two types of restraining/protection orders in Oregon: the ex parte order and the final order. This is true for FAPA restraining orders, as well as SAPOs. In every case, the first order to issue is the ex parte order, but it can transform into a permanent order depending on what happens in court.

Ex Parte Court Orders

When a victim files a petition for a sexual abuse protective order in Oregon, the judge can grant the petition without speaking to the abuser. This is termed an "ex parte" order, meaning that the person to whom the order is issued is not told in advance about the petition nor present when the judge talks to the victim.

This court hearing can happen by phone or in person. If the judge is convinced that the victim's fear is real and reasonable, it can grant the petition and issue a temporary retraining order ex parte.

But the person to whom the order is issued is made aware of it immediately. Generally, in Oregon, law enforcement serves a copy of this order on the respondent who has 30 days from the date of service to request a hearing. If they do not do so, the order cannot be disputed and continues in full force and effect for one year from the date it is issued. It can be extended by the judge if necessary.

Responding and Obtaining a Final Order

If the respondent seeks a hearing within 30 days, it is scheduled by the court and both parties can appear and give their sides of the story. After the court date, the judge may decide that the victim is no longer in danger, in which case they can cancel the order.

Otherwise, a final restraining order issues and stays in place for a year, subject to extension. It can remain in effect even longer, or be issued without any expiration date, if the abuser has prior rape or sexual misconduct convictions or a history of domestic violence.

Other Types of Restraining Orders in Oregon

While the FAPA and the SAPO orders are the most commonly issued restraining orders in Oregon, several other types are available to protect against specific risks. Each type of order should be reviewed to determine which one best matches the circumstances of the case. While there is some overlap, most cases of abuse fall within one of the categories of restraining orders.

The Elderly Persons and Persons With Disabilities Abuse Prevention Act restraining order can issue when the victim is over the age of 65, disabled or otherwise especially vulnerable. The court has prepared instructions and forms to assist victims to file a request with the court.

An SPO, or Stalking Protective Order, is appropriate when the respondent has made repeated contact with the victim or their immediate family that makes the victim feel afraid or threatened. Even if the contacts are made by a third party on behalf of the abuser, the victim can apply for this order.

“Repeated” in the law means at least two incidents within the past two years. "Incident" can mean that the person waits for the victim near their home, job or school; follows them; sends letters, phone calls, texts or emails; or commits a crime against them, as long as they cause the victim reasonable fear for their physical safety or that of their family.

The Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) prevents a person from having or getting deadly weapons or firearms. This is issued when someone presents an extreme risk of hurting another person or of committing suicide.

Filing for Restraining Orders in Oregon

A victim must file an application or petition for a restraining order in the county in which they live or the county in which the abuser lives.

The county court clerk has the forms available to those who come in to file, and, in many counties in Oregon, the forms are also available to download from the court's website. FAPA and SAPO forms are available from women's shelters and domestic violence shelters.

The victim must fill in the form completely, then sign it. The forms must be signed either in the presence of a notary or a court clerk. As much identifying information about the abuser as possible should be provided, including a recent photo, a physical description, home and work addresses, and a description of their vehicle and license plate number.

Filing the Forms and Paying Filing Fees

All protection/restraining order forms in Oregon contain detailed instructions, leading a person through the filing steps. However, if questions come up, the clerk's office will answer them.

Don't worry about costs – in Oregon, there is no fee for filing a restraining order. Anyone filing for a FAPA order should see if an advocate from a local domestic violence organization is available to assist.

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