Protection orders are a civil legal process that, when ordered by a judge, allows for criminal consequences to defendants when they do not follow the judge’s orders. The orders are titled Protection from Abuse (for domestic or dating violence) and Protection from Stalking, Sexual Assault, or Human Trafficking. The criteria for all orders are defined by the law. SOS Crisis Services Advocates are trained to screen situations and determine with a client whether a protection order is the correct course of action.
A person is not required to have an advocate assist in the process to obtain a protection order. Applications are available at a district court clerk’s office where people can complete the paperwork themselves and submit it to the court clerk. Working with an advocate, however, can be beneficial as they understand the process that often takes several hours to complete. At times SOS advocates cannot assist with a protection order request, however, such as when a conflict of interest exists or, through the advocate’s assessment, the situation does not meet the legal criteria.