Protection Orders vs Restraining Orders
There are a few differences between Protection Orders and Restraining Orders.
Both Orders may order an abuser not to abuse/stalk/harass a victim. However, these orders are very different legal tools. A restraining order is a court order through District Court between two or more parties. It is essentially, a Civil Matter and law enforcement cannot enforce it. If a restraining order is broken, the petitioner must go to the court and file for an order to show cause on a contempt of court. Also, restraining orders can generally only be obtained through an attorney.
A protection order can also order an abuser/stalker/assaulter to not abuse/harass a victim. It can also be enforced by law enforcement officers anywhere - under the State statute for violation of a protection order. In addition, a protection order may contain other provisions depending on the type of Protection Order sought. Some examples: ordering possession of shared residence, awarding temporary child custody or temporary support to the domestic violence victim, or ordering parties to obtain counseling.
Protection Order Petitions may be obtained from Project SAFE (who can assist you filling them out), Platte County Circuit Court, or through your attorney.
Petitioning the court for a Domestic Violence Protection Order does not guarantee your safety or that the alleged abuser or Respondent will comply with the terms if such an order is granted. Domestic Violence Orders should not be sought unless an act of domestic abuse as defined by the law exists.
“Domestic abuse” means the occurrence of one (1) or more of the following acts by a household member but does not include acts of self defense: (A) Physically abusing, threatening to physically abuse, attempting to cause or causing physical harm or acts which unreasonably restrain the personal liberty of any household member; (B) Placing a household member in reasonable fear of imminent physical harm; or (C) Causing a household member to engage involuntarily in sexual activity by force, threat of force or duress. See the definition section for a qualifying household member.
Definitions for Order of Protection
Domestic Violence Protection Act Wyo. Stat. § 35-21-102
(i) “Adult” means a person who is sixteen (16) years of age or older, or legally married;
(iv) “Household member” includes:
(A) Persons married to each other;
(B) Persons living with each other as married;
(C) Persons formerly married to each other;
(D) Persons formerly living with each other as if married;
(E) Parents and their adult children;
(F) Other adults sharing common living quarters;
(G) Persons who are the parents of a child but who are not living with each other; and
(H) Persons who are in, or have been in, a dating relationship.
Stalking Protection Order
Petitioning the court for a Stalking Protection Order does not guarantee your safety or that the alleged stalker or Respondent will comply with the terms of such an order.
Definitions for Stalking Order of Protection Wyo. Stat. § 7-3-506
(i) “Court” means the Circuit Court * * * in the County where an alleged victim of stalking resides or where the alleged perpetrator of the stalking is found;
(ii) “Order of Protection” means a court order granted for the protection of a victim of stalking;
(iii) “Stalking” means conduct as defined by W.S.§ 6-2-506, which states:
As used in this section:
- “Course of Conduct” means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over any period of time evidencing a continuity of purpose;
- “Harass” means to engage in a course of conduct, including but not limited to verbal threats, written threats, vandalism, or non consensual physical contact, directed at a specific person or the family of a specific person, which the defendant [respondent] knew or should have known would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and which does in fact seriously alarm the person toward whom it is directed.
1. Communicating, verbally or otherwise, or causing a communication with another person by verbal, electronic, mechanical, telegraphic, telephonic or written means in a manner that harasses;
2. Following a person other than within the residence of the respondent;
3. Placing a person under surveillance by remaining present outside his or her school, place of employment, vehicle, other place occupied by the person, ore residence other than the residence of the respondent;
4. Otherwise engaging in a course of conduct that harasses another person.
A sexual assault protection order is a civil order issued by the court on behalf of a sexual assault victim. The order can require the alleged perpetrator to stay away from the victim or place(s) where the victim lives or works and to have no further contact with the victim.
Any person 18 or older who is a victim of sexual assault – including a single incident – may petition the court to obtain the order. Victims under 18 need a parent or guardian to petition on their behalf. A third party may also file on behalf of a vulnerable adult or any other adult who cannot file due to age, disability, health or inaccessibility.
The sexual assault protection order is designed for victims who do not meet the “household member” requirement with the person who sexually assaulted them to qualify for a domestic violence protection order. If you are considering petitioning for a sexual assault protection order, you should meet with a sexual assault advocate or a lawyer to discuss the different available remedies and challenges with the various orders.
A Sexual Assault Protection Order may also be obtained as part of a criminal case. If a victim reports the sexual assault to law enforcement and the assailant is being prosecuted, a judge may order the perpetrator to keep the assailant away from the victim when they are released from custody.
Definitions for Sexual Assault Order of Protection
Wyo. Stat. § 7-3-506
(i) “Court” means the Circuit Court * * * in the County where an alleged victim of sexual assault resides or where the alleged perpetrator of the sexual assault is found;
(ii) “Order of Protection” means a court order granted for the protection of a victim of sexual assault;
(iii) “Sexual assault” means conduct as defined by W.S.§ 6-2-302, 6-2-303, 6-2-314 through 6-2-318.
For help in developing a safety plan or about protection orders and how to get one, contact Project SAFE 307-322-4794, (see Crisis Intervention in the Yellow Pages) or call the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault at (800) 990-3877 or Wyoming Division of Victim’s Services at (888)996-8816 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE (7233) or (512) 453-8117 (multi-lingual advocates are available); TTY: (800) 787-3224.