Warning: The information and forms in this guide are not legal advice and are not a substitute for the help of a lawyer. It’s a good idea to talk with a lawyer about your particular situation.
This guide tells you about getting a protective order to protect you from someone who has sexually assaulted you.
Caution. Anyone who uses your computer can see what websites and pages you have visited. You cannot completely clear it. If you think this may happen, please use a safer computer, call your local shelter, or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY: 800-787-3224.
Common questions about Sexual Assault
Under Texas law, it is sexual assault if anyone, male or female, made you have sex by using force or threatening to hurt you or someone close to you. Specifically, this can mean:
- Someone put their penis, finger or other object in your vagina or anus by using force or harm;
- Someone put their penis in your mouth by using force or threat of harm;
- Someone put your penis or vagina in contact with the mouth, anus, penis or vagina of any other person, by using force or threat of harm.
It is also sexual assault if anyone ever made you do any of these things while you were unconscious, drunk or otherwise incapacitated.
Furthermore, it is sexual assault if any adult (a person older than 18) had sexual contact with you when you were under the age of 17.
The duration of a sexual assault protective order can be from 2 years up to a lifetime.
No. However, if you did file a report, include that information in your petition.
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.
- 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.
- 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”).
The protective order is a civil lawsuit and criminal charges are separate, criminal court actions. Each case has different requirements and one does not affect the other, except that if a record is made in the protective order hearing, the criminal court can introduceyour previous sworn testimony into evidence.
For this reason, it is important to contact an attorney before filing a protective order. It is also important to review your statements before court and make sure you are consistent with each one. Court can be stressful, especially is your abuser is present. The more you review your statement before court, the better prepared you will be.
Also note, it is OK to say you don’t remember something if you really don’t remember it. Attorneys in court may ask you for many details that you cannot remember. It is better to say you don’t remember than to try and guess.
Instructions & Forms
Instructions & Forms
PLEASE BE CAREFUL
Anyone who uses your computer can see what websites and pages you have visited. You cannot completely clear it. If you think this may happen, please use a safer computer, call your local shelter, or call the Legal Aid for Survivors of Sexual Assault at 1-844-303-SAFE.
This guide tells you about getting a protective order to protect you from someone who has sexually assaulted you. FORMS ARE INCLUDED.
This guide includes:
- Instructions & Forms you can use to file a sexual assault protective order.
- Frequently Asked Questions about sexual assault protective orders
- Articles on topics related to sexual assault protective orders.
If you miss it, your Temporary Ex Parte Protective Order may end.
- Fill out a Protective Order before you go to court and bring it with you
- Bring any evidence you have, like photographs, medical records, or torn clothing. Also bring witnesses who know about the violence, like a neighbor, relative, or police. The judge may ask them to testify.
- If you had a Protective Order in the past, bring a copy of it.
- Bring proof of your and the other person’s income and expenses, like bills, paycheck stubs, bank accounts, andtax returns.
- If the Proof of Service was returned to you, file it with the clerk and bring a copy to court. Proof of Service is a document that shows when and where the other person was given a copy of your Application for Protective Order.
Make a list of the orders you want and practice saying them out loud. Do not take more than 3 minutes to say what you want.
If you get nervous, just read from your application list. Use that list to see if the judge has made every order you asked for.
1. Find the courtroom.
2. When the courtroom opens, go in and tell the clerk or officer that you are present.
3. Watch the cases before yours so you will know what to do.
4. When your name is called, go to the front of the courtroom.
The other person or his/her lawyer may also ask you questions. Tell the truth. Speak slowly. Give complete answers. If you don’t understand the question, say, “I don’t understand the question.”
Speak only to the judge unless it is your turn to ask questions. When other people are talking to the judge, wait for them to finish. Then you can ask questions about what they said.
When you first file your application, tell the clerk you will need an interpreter. Ask the clerk for free interpretation services. If a court interpreter is not available, bring someone to interpret for you. Do not ask a child, a protected person, or a witness to interpret for you.
When you file your papers, ask for an interpreter or other accommodation.
Call the Family Violence Legal Line before you go to court: 800-374-HOPE(4673)
If you don’t feel safe, call your local family crisis center or the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE(7233)
If the judge agrees you need protection, they will sign your Protective Order. Take your signed order to thecourt clerk. Ask for a certified copy of your order and keep it with you at all times.
Make sure copies of your order are sent to your children's daycare, babysitter, school, and to the other person's staff judge advocate at Joint Force Headquarters or the provost marshal of the military installation to which they are assigned. If the other person violates the order, call the police and show them your order.
Articles in this guide
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 information on emergency protective orders. This article is excerpted from the Texas Advocacy Project website.
This article provides information about sexual assault exams. The material is excerpted from this article by the Texas Association Against Sexual A...
This article tells you what sexual assault protective orders are and who can get one. This article was written by Advocates for Victims of Crime (A...
This article explains how to apply for a sexual assault protective order.
This article provides you with information about what commonly happens in court when you try to get a Sexual Assault Protective Order. This article...
This article tells you about what happens after you get a Sexual Assault Protective Order.