Restraining orders

After criminal proceedings, the court can make a restraining order to protect you from further abuse, harassment or fear of violence.

You can get a restraining order whether the defendant was found guilty or not guilty – but not if your case was withdrawn or stopped before a verdict was given.

Getting a restraining order

The court can issue a restraining order if it thinks one is necessary, but usually it’s up to prosecutors to ask the court for one.

You should tell the police officer looking after your case or the prosecutor if you want a restraining order.

They will apply to the court with suggestions about what should be in the order – for example, that the defendant doesn’t contact or go near you – and how long it should last.

They may hand in any extra evidence not given during the trial that might support your application.

What happens if a restraining order is broken?

It’s a criminal offence to break a restraining order. The police may arrest and charge the defendant, who may be kept in custody before going to court.

A conviction will mean a criminal record, as well as a fine or imprisonment for up to 5 years, or both.