You can get help applying for a sexual assault protective order. The process does involve going to court. A lawyer or advocate can help you stay safe during and after the protective order application process.
Who do I contact for help applying for a Sexual Assault Protective Order?
You can start by contacting your local county and district attorney’s office. They may apply on your behalf.
Note: You may also contact the county or district attorney’s offices in the county in which the respondent lives or where the assault occurred. You are eligible to apply for a protective order in any one of these counties.
You can also contact free legal aid organizations listed in our Legal Help directory. They can apply for you as well.
You can hire a private attorney to apply for a sexual assault protective order for you.
You can also apply for a sexual assault protective order on your own with the forms included in this packet (this is called applying “pro se”).
What should I include in the petition for a sexual assault protective order?
The petition should include a description of the incident(s) of sexual assault, where they occurred, and when.
If there were other incidences of physical violence or threats of physical violence with the respondent that did not include sexual assault, you could also include a description of those incidences, where they occurred, and when they occurred.
Will the respondent know what information I included in the petition?
Yes. The respondent must be served with a copy of the documents that you have filed with the court.
Can I keep my address and phone number confidential?
Yes. You can request that your home, work, school and daycare addresses and phone numbers be kept confidential. However, your county of residence will be disclosed through the application process.
To make your information confidential, you should file a document called “Confidential Information Not to be Disclosed” and list the information you want kept confidential. This document is included in the Sexual Assault Protective Order Kit.
Do I have to go to court?
Yes. After you file for your protective order, you will be given a court date to appear.
If he’s going to get served, how will I stay safe until the hearing?
When you file your application, you can ask the court to sign a temporary protective order to keep you safe until your court date.
Will the court charge me for applying for a Sexual Assault Protective Order?
By law, you cannot be charged any court fees associated with applying for a protective order. This includes filing fees and court costs.
Note: If you hire a private attorney to represent you in a protective order application, you will have to pay that attorney their attorney’s fees.
How does applying for a sexual assault protective order affect a criminal case?
The information contained in your petition and any testimony from the hearing can be used in a criminal case by either the prosecution or the defense. If you want to pursue prosecution in your case, consult an attorney before filing for the protective order.
What evidence and information do I need to get a Sexual Assault Protective Order?
A sexual assault protective order can be granted based solely upon your sworn statement.
If you have a police report, safe exam, criminal conviction, witnesses, or photographs, do include that information as it can increase your chances of getting the order granted by the court.
You will need a valid address for the respondent where they can be served notice of their court date.
This article briefly explains sexual assault protective orders.
Sexual assault affects a victim’s safety. A safety plan is used to help empower a survivor and reduce the risk of future harm.
This article provides resources and general information about what to do if you are sexually assaulted in Texas.