What is Domestic Violence? The U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women defines domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.
An Order of Protection is a court order, signed by a judge, to promote the safety and protection of victims of partner and family member assault, sexual assault and stalking.
A person seeking an order of protection (the Petitioner) must meet certain eligibility requirements. For example, the person inflicting the abuse or making threats must be a:
- family member, intimate partner, or former intimate partner;
- perpetrator of past physical or sexual assault, or
- has assaulted you, whether or not you have had an intimate relationship with that person.
Minors may petition for an order of protection through a parent, guardian ad litem or other representative.
In the protection order, the judge may:
- prohibit the offender from threatening to hurt you or hurting you;
- direct the offender to leave your home and prohibit any contact with you;
- prevent the offender from transferring any property except in the usual course of business;
- prohibit the offender from being within 1,500 feet or other appropriate distance of you, any named family member, and your worksite or other specified place;
- give you possession of necessary personal property;
- prohibit the offender from possessing or using the firearm used in the assault.
A victim advocate in your community may be available to assist you with seeking a protection order, safety planning, and other issues. Find an advocate in your area by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or check Montana Victim Services by Region, from the Montana Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence.
For more information on protection orders, please refer to Orders of Protection Q&A, from the Montana Department of Justice, Office of Victim Services.
Additional Information on Protection Orders in Montana
How to Obtain an Order of Protection, from the Montana Department of Justice, Office of Victim Services
Orders of Protection Q&A, from the Montana Department of Justice, Office of Victim Services
Forms and Guides for Victims, from the Montana Department of Justice, Office of Victim Services
Orders of Protection: Evidence, brochure from Montana Legal Services Association
Legal Resources and Social Services in Montana
Lawyer Referral Information Service, from the State Bar of Montana (Phone assistance is also available at (406) 449-6577.)
Apply for Legal Services, from Montana Legal Service Association (serving low-income Montana with pressing civil legal needs)
Montana Legal Services HelpLine and Intake, available Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm: 1-800-666-6899
Montana Victim Services by Region, from the Montana Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence
Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-723 for help locating resources in your area.