Getting an Order of Protection
There are many steps you can take to protect your safety during or after an abusive incident or event. There are three different types of protective orders in the state of Illinois; Orders of Protection (OOP), Civil No Contact Orders (CNCO) and Stalking No Contact Orders (SNCO).
This document from the Illinois Attorney General's Office outlines the qualifications for each order. If you have a question about what order would be the best fit for your situation, you can reach out to Naperville Police Department’s Victim Advocate for assistance.
Once you have completed the petition, you will stand before a judge in open court and the judge will consider the contents of your petition. If the judge believes that you are in eminent and clear danger, an Emergency Order of Protection (EOOP) will be immediately issued. A EOOP is valid up to 21 days and is used to allow time for the abuser to be served before the secondary hearing, called the Plenary Hearing. It is important to know that having an EOOP granted is not necessary to have the plenary granted; if the judge denies the emergency order and sets the case to hearing, it simply means the judge would like to hear from both involved parties before making a decision on the order. If the Plenary OOP is granted, it is valid for a period up to two years.
Who can get one?
You can get a protective order if you have been physically hurt, sexually assaulted, threatened, stalked or had property destroyed. The nature of the relationship between you and the respondent (abusive party) will contribute to determining what type of order you will petition for. Most commonly, an Order of Protection (OOP) is the appropriate order if you have been abused by a person to whom you are related by blood, adoption, marriage, domestic partnership, have a child in common, share or have shared the same home, have or previously had a dating relationship (it does not need to be a sexual relationship) or from a person who had one of the above relationships with your current domestic partner.
When do I file for a protective order?
As soon as possible after the abuse occurs, present in courthouse of the county you wish to file in. If you are filing in DuPage County, go up to the third floor and directly off the escalators you will see double doors for Family Shelter Service’s court advocates; they can assist in the completion of the petition as well as electronically signing the petition which is required before you see the judge. In Will County, proceed up to the second floor to the Order of Protection office, room 202.
The process of filing for a protective order can take several hours, so make sure you leave plenty of time; it is suggested that you arrive when the courthouse opens in the morning. Please note that no cellular phones are allowed in the courthouse. If you have evidence of abuse on your cellphone, the judge can sign an order allowing you to retrieve it and you will be escorted back to the courtroom.
If you get a protective order, make sure you think about other steps you can take to plan for your safety. This page will give you suggestions to do so.
What do I do if the abuser violates a protective order?
Call the police IMMEDIATELY. If an Order of Protection is violated, the abuser may have committed a Class A Misdemeanor and may be arrested. A second or subsequent offense may be a Class 4 Felony.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a police report to file for a protective order?
No; protective orders are civil remedies that are enforceable by police but do not require a police report to file. If you do have a police report, it may be helpful to mention in the petition what occurred, but it is not required.
How much does it cost to file for a protective order?
Protective orders are free of charge.
Where do I file for a protective order?
You may file for a protective in the county court either where the abuse occurred, where you reside, or where the respondent (abuser) resides. Also, you can file for a protective order in the county where you are currently residing due to fleeing an abusive situation.
DuPage County Courthouse
505 N County Farm Rd, Wheaton, IL 60187
Will County Courthouse
14 W Jefferson St, Joliet, IL 60432
If possible, it is advisable to petition in the county where the abuser lives because this will expedite the service process. It is also advisable to complete the petition to the best of your ability before going to court. For assistance, contact the Naperville Police Department Victim Advocate or the local domestic violence agency for your county.
Do I need a lawyer to file for a protective order?
No, you do not need a lawyer. The judge may request that you come back to court after your initial hearing for a plenary hearing, which will determine if the order is granted for a period of up to two years. Some people decided to retain legal representation for this process, but it is certainly not required. If you do not have a lawyer, you will be considered “pro se” which simply means without representation.
What do I do if my order is denied?
If a protective order is denied by a judge, you may feel disheartened and disempowered. It is important to know that you may petition again for an order should another episode of abuse occurs. There are other tools and methods that can keep you safe from an abusive person and creating a safety plan is a critical step.