Orders for Protection and Harassment Orders

An Order for Protection (OFP) is a court order, when domestic abuse or the threat of domestic abuse is involved, that orders the abuser not to hurt you.  It can also: make the abuser leave your home, order the abuser not to have contact with you, order temporary custody, parenting time or visitation, order child support or spousal maintenance, order use of property.

Domestic abuse is defined as any of the following conduct between family or household members, regardless of whether this conduct has ever been reported to the police:

  • Actual physical harm, bodily injury, assault (such as hitting, kicking, slapping, pushing, stabbing), or fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault (such as verbal threats, threatening gestures);or
  • Terroristic threats (such as threats to kill, break bones, or threatening somone with a knife or gun); or
  • Criminal sexual conduct with an adult (such as forced sex or forced contact with intimate body parts, even if the parties are married or any form of sexual contact with a child; or
  • Interference with an emergency call (intentionally interrupting or preventing someone from placing an emergency call.)

Family or household members are defined as:

  1. Married persons
  2. Persons who were married but are now divorced
  3. Parents, children
  4. Persons related by blood or adoption (such as brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, or grandparents)
  5. Persons who live together now or who lived together in the past
  6. Persons who have a child together, even if they have not been married or lived together
  7. Persons who have an unborn child together
  8. Persons involved in or who were involved in a significant romantic or sexual relationship (regardless of sexual orientation)

An OFP is not a criminal case. It is a family court case.  If the police have been called, they may also start a separate criminal matter because it is against the law to hurt or threaten people. For more information about OFP's or to fill out paperwork for an Order for Protection, stop in at our office or go to: http://www.mncourts.gov/GetForms.aspx?category=242 and click on Filing an Order for Protection [Packet].  The instructions will walk you through the process.  If you need any help, feel free to call us.

A Harassment Order (HRO) is also a court order that provides protection from harassment or stops another person from bothering you. Some behaviors do not meet the legal definition of domestic abuse, but do meet the definition of harassment. 
Under Minn. Stat. 609.748, harassment is defined as:
  1. A single incident of physical or sexual assault.
  2. Repeated incidents of intrusive or unwanted acts, words or gestures that have a substantial adverse effect or are intended to have a substantial adverse effect on the safety, security or privacy of another, regardless of the relationship between you and the alleged harasser.
  3. Targeted picketing, which includes:
  • marching, standing, or patrolling by one or more persons directed solely at a particular residential building in a manner that adversly affects the safety, security or privacy of an occupant of that building, and
  • marching, standing, or patrolling by one or more persons which prevents an occupant of a residential building from gaining access to or exiting from the property on which the residential building is located.
    4. A pattern of attending public events after being notified
        that one's presence is harassing to another.
The court can order the harasser to leave you alone and have no further contact with you. This includes stopping the phone calls, letters, email and text messages and third party contact.  Harassment Order papers are available at our office and are at: http://www.mncourts.gov/GetForms.aspx?cat=Harassment, click on Petitioners Harassment Packet.  Follow the instructions, if you need assistance please call us or stop in.


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