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What are the different types of orders of protection?

A Family Court order of protection is a civil (as opposed to criminal) matter whereby someone seeks protection against another whom they feel has done them harm or threatened to do so. The person seeking the protection is called the “petitioner” and the accused is called the “respondent.”

For this type of order to be applicable, the petitioner and respondent must either:

  • be current or former spouses;
  • have a child together;
  • be related by blood or marriage; or
  • have an “intimate relationship,” which is determined by the court and need not be a sexual relationship.

Such orders of protection, like all Family Court proceedings, are confidential.

A criminal court order of protection applies only to someone who has been charged with a crime. It is issued as a condition of a defendant’s release from custody. The alleged victim is called the “complaining witness,” and the accused is called the “defendant.” There need not be any relationship between the complaining witness and the defendant for this type of order.

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