Shelters and Hotlines
National Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
Virginia Statewide Hotline: 800-838-VADV (8238)
Maryland Statewide Hotline: 1-800-MD-HELPS (1-800-634-3577)
District of Columbia
Washington DC District-wide Hotline: (202) 561-7000
This information applies to Protective Orders in Virginia.
What Is a Protective Order?
A Protective Order is a legal order issued by a magistrate or judge to protect one person from being physically abused or threatened by another person. A Protective Order is issued in cases of domestic violence and stalking to protect the health and safety of an abused person and his/her family or household members. There is no cost to file for a Protective Order.
More information on Protective Orders in Virginia from the Virginia Judicial System.
What Can a Protective Order Do?
- Legally order someone to stop abusing or threatening you
- Prohibit the person from contacting you at home, at work, or by phone
- Order the abuser removed from the home you share with him or her
- Grant temporary custody/visitation of children
- Provide any other relief necessary for your protection
The order is not effective until the abuser receives a copy. If the abuser violates the Protective Order, it can result in jail time.
What Are the Types of Protective Orders?
Emergency Protective Order
If you have been assaulted recently, you may obtain an EPO through the police department or a magistrate. An EPO last up to 72 hours.
Preliminary Protective Order
You must file for a Preliminary Protective Order in person through the intake office of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court (in Virginia). This order lasts up to 15 days. A judge will determine a date for a hearing on the Permanent Protective Order.
Permanent Protective Order
A Permanent Protective Order is effective for up to two years. It will be issued only after a full hearing, where both parties have the opportunity to present evidence for their side. You must be present at the hearing or your petition will be dismissed. You are not required to have a lawyer, but you may wish to have one assist you.
A Protective Order obtained in one state must be enforced in all other states. If you relocate, contact the court in your area.
Where Do I Go to File for a Protective Order?
In Virginia, go to the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court nearest you. Here are the addresses and phone numbers for Northern Virginia:
Address:520 King Street, Alexandria
Address:1425 N. Courthouse Rd., Arlington
Address:4110 Chain Bridge Rd., Fairfax
Address:300 Park Ave., Falls Church
Address:14 Main St., Warrenton
Address:18 East Market St., Leesburg
Address:9311 Lee Ave., Manassas
For your convenience, you can fill out the Protective Order petition form online through I-CAN! (Interactive Community Assistance Network). However, you must print out the completed forms and deliver them in person to the appropriate Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court.
For more information, download the Understanding the Legal Process for Victims of Family Abuse brochure from the Department of Criminal Justice Services of Virginia.