Anti-Harassment Orders

An Anti-harassment Order is a special type of restraining order which is available only to victims of harassment. It is a civil order of the Court telling the person who harassed you not to bother you again. Once the Order is granted and served on the respondent (harasser), the police are notified and the information is placed on a computer network. The Order is fully enforceable in any county in the State. An Anti-harassment Order can:
  • Restrain the respondent from contacting you or your minor children.
  • Restrain the respondent from keeping you or your minor children under surveillance.
  • Require the respondent to stay a stated distance away from your home or workplace.
A respondent who willfully disobeys the terms of an Anti-harassment Order is subject to arrest and criminal charges.

If You're Being Harassed

If you are being harassed by someone over the age of 18 and the harassment has occurred more than once, you may file a petition for an anti-harassment order which orders the harassing person to stay away from you and cease all harassing activity. Even if the harasser is someone living with you, and you are not in imminent fear of physical harm, you may file a petition for an order of protection from harassment. The parent or guardian of a child under age eighteen may petition for an order of protection to restrain a person over age eighteen from contact with that child upon a showing that contact with that person is detrimental to the welfare of the child. However, if you or your child have been physically threatened or assaulted by a person living with you or a family member, you must seek an order for protection from domestic violence in the Superior Court. Anti-harassment petitions are generally filed in the District Court. If the person harassing you or your child is under the age of eighteen, you must file your petition in Superior Court.

Obtaining a Temporary Order

Petitions for Anti-Harrassment, Stalking & Protection orders are available in the District Court office.

You need to fill out the form as completely as possible giving the Court written information about what has happened and why you need the Court order. Include a complete description of all incidents or communications that led to the necessity of seeking the order. Describing only the most recent occurrence or generally stating that the person is bothering you may not be sufficient for the judge to determine if an order is necessary. The Clerk is prohibited by law from giving legal advice; if you feel you need it, please contact an attorney. After you fill out the form, the clerk will submit it to the judge who will determine if there is sufficient cause to grant a temporary anti-harassment order.

If so, this temporary order becomes effective immediately upon service on the harassing party. You may not serve the harassing party yourself. Service may be accomplished either through the civil department at the Sheriff's Office (for a fee), or you may have a non-involved third party serve the other party. You will receive notice of a Anti-harassment Order hearing and the date which will be no later than 14 days after issuance of the temporary order. The respondent must be served with the papers you have filed and with the notice of the Anti-harassment Order hearing for a permanent order. Service is very important and must occur before you can get an Anti-harassment Order. The Court can order law enforcement to serve the respondent with these papers if you are indigent, i.e. financially unable to afford the cost of service.


You must appear at that hearing or the temporary order will expire and you will no longer have the protection of a Court order. At the Anti-harassment Order hearing after listening to both sides, the Court will determine if there is sufficient cause to issue an order and may make some changes. The Order for Anti-harassment will generally last for a maximum of one year. However, it may be effective for a longer period of time if the Court finds that the respondent is likely to resume unlawful harassment of the petitioner when the order expires.