By: Casandra L. Ringlespaugh, Attorney

The Indiana Civil Protection Order Act, or ICPOA, is a set of laws passed Indiana in 2002 in regards to domestic and family violence. Under the ICPOA, Courts can issue Orders to protect people from domestic or family violence, stalking, or a sex offense. These Court Orders are called “Protection Orders” or “Orders for Protection,” and the terms are used interchangeably. A protective order may be issued when a Judge finds, by a majority of the evidence, that the respondent (other person) represents a credible threat to the safety of petitioner…— that is, that domestic or family violence has occurred or a threat of violence which would cause a reasonable person to feel threatened or intimidated has occurred. It is essentially an order you get from the Court that tells someone to leave you alone. For purposes of Indiana law, this includes a sex offense and stalking, even if the individual is not a family or household member. While it is only a piece paper, and will not be an absolute protection against violence, it still may be beneficial. Local law enforcement will have access to a copy of the Order of Protection in their database. Additionally, any violation of an Order of Protection, when reported to police, becomes a criminal issue. You can, of course, (and should), call the police anytime you are in danger, but having an Order of Protection will help the police in responding to your call.

When can I get an Order of Protection?

You can get an Order of Protection if you are

And have been a victim of:

  1. Domestic or family violence;
  2. A sexual offense; OR
  3. Stalking.

Additionally, a parent or guardian can file a petition for an Order of Protection for a child.

General Information About Filing/ Petitioning the Court for an Order of Protection:

You do not necessarily need an attorney to file a Petition for an Order of Protection, although having an attorney or advocate look over the document may still be beneficial. The person asking for the Order is the “moving party,” and is called the “Petitioner,” against the other person, the “responding party” called the “Respondent.” The Petitioner needs to file a Petition in the correct Court in the county that he or she lives in. Typically information desks at the courthouse can direct an unrepresented person to the correct court room.  It is important that the Petitioner includes on the Petition the full legal name and correct information (correct date of birth or Social Security number; and correct, current address) for the Respondent. There are two (2) different kinds of Petitions that can be filed, a request for Ex Parte orders, meaning without a hearing (only available in an emergency and certain situations), and a Protection Order that will be ordered after a hearing. If the protective order request involves someone that the person has children with, or if the Petitioner asks for money, the Court must hold a hearing on the case before dispensing orders. Protection Orders typically last for two (2) years, unless the Petitioner requests and/or the Judge decides on a different duration.

You will be asked in the Petition to detail incidents and examples of domestic violence. This is your one opportunity to explain to the Judge why you need an Order of Protection to stop the violence. Civil Protective Orders are confidential and not available to the general public. It is important to be detailed, and include police reports or texts which correspond with the incidents you list if you have such documentation. If you have photographs, include them. It is also important to ask the Judge for everything you want. If the person lives with you, and you want them to be evicted, you must ask. If you share a child, and you want the child to be included, you must include this request. If you want the Respondent to have to stay away from the child’s school and/or your place of employment, you have to include this information. This is your request for “relief” and it must be comprehensive including all of your wishes on orders (within reason) that you want from the Court prior to any hearing. Failure to include your request may result in the Court denying the request. While the Court can always deny your requests for relief, it is much easier to ask for outright, then to try and modify later.

Access Forms Online

for Hamilton County, Indiana forms

After the Petition is filed, the court has several options:

  • The court could schedule a hearing and issue no orders before the hearing.
  • The court could deny the petition and schedule no hearing.
  • The court could issue an “ex-parte order” (an order issued without having a hearing first).

If you are a victim of domestic violence:

  • If you are in an emergency situation, call 911.
  • Contact Your Local Agency.If you are the victim of domestic or sexual violence, or if you believe you or your children are in danger of being harmed by someone in your life, there is help for you.  Throughout the state of Indiana, hundreds of trained advocates work every day to help victims find safety, and in many situations a protection order can be a useful tool. For help finding an advocate or shelter, or for more information about domestic violence, visit the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) website or call their 24-hour statewide hotline at 317-332-7385.
  • We may be able to help.If you are a victim of domestic violence, attorneys at Cohen and Malad may be able to help you.

For more information, contact me.