Protective Orders


About Protective Orders

In Virginia, there are two kinds of Protective Orders:

1) Family Abuse Protective Order, which is heard in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court

2) Non-Family Abuse Protective Order, which is heard in the General District Court

Your local court is likely to have more resources and information, including guidelines for the hearings.  The Pulaski Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court offers videos at the bottom of the page about protective orders in Virginia.  Be sure to check with your local court for details before proceeding.

The booklet Understanding Protective Orders in Richmond, VA may also help you understand more about the process and what you need to bring to court.  The Spanish version of this booklet is here: Entendiendo Las Órdenes de Protección en Richmond, VA.

Safety & Community Resources

Sexual & Domestic Violence Agencies serve most communities in Virginia.  They are available 24 hours a day, and can offer many services to help and support you or someone you are worried about.  If you are unsure which agency would best help you, call the Virginia Family Violence & Sexual Assault Hotline at 1.800.838.8238.

Legal Resources

Legal information and legal advice are very important in abuse cases, and you are strongly urged to contact a lawyer.

Court Forms for Protective Orders

There is a free court approved online program called I-CAN!™ Virginia that will help you fill out the forms you need to file with the court for both kinds of Protective Order.  I-CAN!™ Virginia will also print instructions that tell you what to do with your forms, and how the court process works.  This program can be accessed in English and Spanish.

A list of information you will need before you complete the form is here:

In English - Family Abuse Protective Order - Information Checklist

In Spanish - Lista de Informacion para I-CAN Orden de Proteccion (Espanol)

Hope Card Program

A Hope Card is a durable, plastic, wallet-sized card that summarizes a protective order's most important details in an easy-to-read format.

The Hope Card contains information such as :

  • identifying characteristics of the person ordered to "stay away"
  • issue and expiration dates of the order
  • terms of the order, including possession of residence, etc.
  • other protected parties

Download an application at

Completed applications are turned in to the clerk of the court where the final protective order was issued. A Hope Card does NOT replace the existing protective order.

Hope Cards are not issued for emergency protective orders, preliminary protective orders, or " no contact" orders in a criminal case.

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