The decision to file for a No Contact order can be a difficult one. A No Contact Order is a way of protecting yourself and your loved ones from an abuser following a sexual assault incident, domestic violence, or stalking and harassment.
If you are considering obtaining a No Contact Order, you may be wondering:
- What does a No Contact Order do?
- Is this the right move for me?
- What if there are children or other family members involved? Are they protected too?
- What if the offender tries to retaliate or violate the order?
- What if I live with the offender or work with him/her?
- How do I know what type of order to request?
Understanding what a No Contact Order is, as well as how to obtain one, can make the process seem less overwhelming. As you’ll read in this blog post, the steps to obtain an order of protection are relatively straightforward, but could be intimidating if you’ve never been in a courtroom before. Fortunately, you’ll be guided by a Pillars Community Health domestic or sexual violence advocate who will make sure you know your rights, help you through the process, and be there to provide emotional support and resources along the way.
There are different types of No Contact Orders: a Domestic Violence Order of Protection, a Stalking – No Contact Order, and a Sexual Assault Civil No Contact Order. What you file for will depend on your relationship with the perpetrator.
Civil No Contact Orders
A Civil No Contact Order is used in the case of sexual assault to prevent further contact with a sexual abuser. A survivor’s family, household members, and rape crisis center employees and volunteers are also eligible for these protections, depending on the situation.
With a Civil No Contact Order, a judge can prohibit the offender from going to specific places, protect a survivor’s property, pets, and children, and prevent the offender from further contact with the survivor.
Order of Protection
An Order of Protection is used to protect survivors of domestic abuse. Household and family members are eligible for Orders of Protection, this includes relatives by marriage and roommates.
An Order of Protection may provide a number of remedies including prohibitions on physical abuse, stalking, and granting exclusive possession of the home to the victim in cases where the abuser and victim reside together. It may also provide for no contact with protected parties, their children, pets, and property.
Stalking – No Contact Order
Stalking can be a factor in both domestic and sexual violence incidents. Studies show that 1 in 6 women and 1 in 17 men experience some sort of stalking in their lifetime. Many victims are stalked by someone they know: 52% of perpetrators in stalking incidents are current or former intimate partners.
Stalking is illegal in all 50 states. While definitions of stalking can vary by jurisdiction, stalking can include any or all of the following:
- Unwanted phone calls, emails, or texts
- Leaving unwanted gifts or notes
- Showing up to an individual’s home or place of work without their consent
- Approaching an individual or following them from a distance
- Contacting or approaching family or friends without consent
A Stalking – No Contact Order can restrict an offender from contacting the victim or going to specific locations, and also prohibit the offender from owning a firearm.
How Do I Get an Order of Protection or a No-Contact Order?
If you are considering filing for an order an Order of Protection, please reach out. We understand that this can be scary, overwhelming, or stressful. We’re here to help you.
- Call the Pillars Community Health Sexual Assault Hotline at 708-482-9600, or the Domestic Violence Hotline at 708-485-5254, depending on what you’ve experienced from the abuser.
- Ask to speak to a legal advocate. Tell them you are interested in filing for a No Contact Order. The petition is filed in civil court, which means no one is actually being charged with a crime.
- Do you have a police report? If not, you can schedule a time to meet your advocate at the police station nearest to where the abuse happened. When petitioning for a No Contact order, documentation is key. If you are struggling to gather evidence of abuse, filing a police report could be very helpful for your case.
- Schedule a time to meet your advocate at the courthouse nearest you. In our service area, we often recommend meeting at the Domestic Violence Courthouse at 555 W. Harrison St. in Chicago. If you are concerned about transportation, your advocate can help with travel accommodations.
- Make sure to gather any and all evidence of abuse or stalking, including texts, voicemails, social media interaction, photos, screenshots, letters, etc. You’ll want to bring these to the courthouse with you.
- You will need the offender’s full name, address, and birthdate. If you don’t know their address, knowing their workplace will work too. The courts need an address so that if an order is granted, a Cook County Sheriff can serve the offender with the order.
- You and your advocate will go to the courthouse and will ask for a petition for a no contact order. The petition you file will be dependent on the relationship you have with the offender. The clerk will give you a paper petition to fill out. You are exempt from filing online due to the sensitive nature of the case.
- After the judge hears your testimony, he/she will make the decision whether to grant the order or deny it. If the order is granted, it will be in force once the respondent is served by the Sheriff. Violation of a No-Contact order is a Class A Misdemeanor. A subsequent violation is a Class 4 felony.
If you are interested in filing for a No-Contact Order, or would like to get help for someone you love, please reach out. Pillars Community Health offers a variety of services for those affected by domestic and sexual violence, including two 24-hour hotlines, crisis intervention services, and more. Click aquí to learn more about our programs.
Sexual Assault hotline: 708-482-9600
Domestic Violence hotline: 708-485-5254