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Domestic Violence is a Crime

A protection order can:

If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can ask the city or county prosecuting attorney to file a criminal complaint. You also have the right to file a petition in magistrate court requesting an order of protection from domestic abuse. This web page explains this protection order.

Violation of a protection order is serious! A violation of any provision of a protection order is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine up to $5,000.

Domestic Violence

Thousands of battered women's programs across the country work to provide emergency shelter and other services for violent families. In Idaho, there are 24 such programs with a variety of services. If someone at home is hurting you, join the many people who are now saying "NO MORE" and getting help.

Cycle of Violence

Research shows that violence can be prevented or reduced when authorities intervene. Otherwise, the cycle of violence and abuse can continue against you and your children and may increase in frequency and intensity. If you are a victim of domestic violence, break the cycle--ask for help.

Protection Orders

Idaho passed a law in 1988 that can help you get protection from further abuse. This is the Domestic Violence Crime Prevention Act (Idaho Code section 39-6302). The law protects spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who live or have lived together. Persons who have had a child in common, whether they have been married or have ever lived together, are also protected. A protection order is a court order for a person to stop hurting you.

How Do I Get One?

This protection order may be obtained WITHOUT a lawyer. Applications, called "petitions," are available from the clerk of the district court in the county where you live. Tell the clerk you need protection from domestic violence. THIS IS FREE.

The "petition" is a legal document. It is important that you understand that you are under oath and have to tell the truth when filling it out.

How Do I Fill Out the Form?

Don't let the form scare you. A lot of information is required by the law to seek protection. Just answer the questions as completely as you can in your own words. If you need help in filling out the form, contact one of the Idaho domestic violence programs with 24 hour hotlines.

The person who fills out the form, usually you--the victim, is called the petitioner. The person the victim needs protection from is the respondent. The petition can be filed in the county you live, where you are temporarily living, or where the respondent is living.

The most important part is to explain in your own words why you are afraid of being hurt. Explain how you were hurt. BE SPECIFIC about violent acts or threats. Include dates, places, injuries, if children have been present, and if a weapon was used, write down what kind. Write everything you can about the abuse. THIS IS IMPORTANT. The judge will use what you write to decide if you need help or not. If you feel you are in danger, put this down. The form is in English. Ask for help if you need it. After you are done, give the completed form to the clerk.

What Happens Next?

The clerk will give the form to the judge in person or by telephone. After you see the judge and a temporary order is issued, you need to return to the court clerk's office to get your copy. The judge may issue you a temporary protection order at that time and will set a hearing date within 14 days to decide whether to issue a full 90 day "Protection Order." YOU MUST COME TO THIS HEARING. Follow through! The clerk will tell you when and where the hearing is.

If the judge signs a temporary protection order or sets a date for a protection order hearing, law enforcement will serve a copy to the person who abused you.

It is very important that you read the entire protection order. You may be ordered into an orientation class or find an error which must be pointed out to the clerk immediately.

Always Keep a Copy of Your Protection Order with You

Deliver copies to your employer, your child's daycare, and everyone else who needs to know about this order. Keep a certified copy to show to the law enforcement officer if you need help.

If you are granted a protection order, it is usually for 90 days and can be renewed for one-year periods if you need more protection. If you do need to have it renewed, remember to do this before it expires. You can apply for a change in this order at any time.


Once a judge has issued a protection order to you and the respondent is served with notice of the protection order, it is then against the law to violate any part of the protection order. Call the emergency #911 or your law enforcement # and report the violation. Gather any information you can to assist the officer. The majority of respondents take this protection order seriously but some do violate this court order. It is important to notify the authorities and to keep yourself as safe as possible. Do not have false hopes that the protection order will be all you need to be safe, especially if violent violations occur.

No Contact Orders

If someone has hurt you and they are arrested, they may be issued a No Contact Order as a condition of their release from jail. In most cases, the No Contact Order will order the arrested person to stay away from you for up to 48 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. The No Contact Order may allow the arrested person to return home, ESCORTED BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, to obtain some personal items needed for personal hygiene and tools for work. This same order will order the arrested person to stay away from you, your children, your place of work, and your children's schools. You should not attempt to contact the arrested person either. The purpose of the No Contact Order is for you to have time to get the help you need to stop the cycle of violence. The No Contact Order is valid for up to 48 hours, giving you time to ask for a temporary protection order from the Magistrate Court.


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