Civil Protection Order (CPO)
A Civil Protection Order (CPO) may be requested to obtain relief from an abusive situation whether or not a criminal charge is filed against the abuser. You may file for a CPO for yourself or for your children if a family or household member attempts to cause bodily injury, places you in fear of imminent harm, commits menacing by stalking or aggravated trespass, or commits child abuse.
CPO’s are issued at the Domestic Relations Court in the Justice Center at 225 Court St., Elyria.
Click Here to download the Civil Protection Order Form. Bring completed form with you to court.
You will need to bring with you:
- Your batterer’s social security number and current address.
- The criminal case number from any criminal charges against your batterer when you have been the victim.
You can expect the following:
- You will first fill out the forms requesting a CPO.
- You will then be called in the courtroom to explain to the judge why you feel you need this order of protection.
- If you are granted a CPO, you will received a certified copy. Keep the certified copy with you at all times. Provide a copy to your workplace, your children’s school or daycare, the police department of any city you reside or work in.
- There will be a full hearing within 7 to 10 days from when the original order was granted. You are required to be at that hearing. You may also want to bring with you anyone who was a witness to the abuse and any verification you have that could prove domestic violence existed such as: police reports, photographs of injuries, etc.
- You should also know that your abuser will be asked to attend the review hearing, so be prepared to have to sit in the same room as him, across the table. He may also bring witnesses that will argue against the protection order.
- You are allowed to hire an attorney to represent you at the full hearing. So is your abuser. The court will not appoint an attorney to represent you.
- Violation of a CPO can result in a criminal charge. Call the police immediately if your abuser violates the terms of the protection order.
- The CPO is enforceable by the police and valid in every state.
When telling the judge about the abuse:
- You need to mention specific instances of abuse and exactly what happened.
- It would be most helpful for you to create a timeline for yourself of the abuse.
- Sit down with some paper and write down the first incident of abuse you can remember. Write down everything that happened during that incident—“he shoved me, bit me, threw an ashtray at me…” Then write down the date and time of that incident.
- If you have trouble remembering the date of the incident, try to think back—was it cold outside? Were you wearing a heavy sweater? If so, it was the winter. Think of how old the children were to help remember the year, think of where you lived to help remember the year, or if you had a certain car or family pet at the time. All those things might help remember the year.
- Think of what activities were being done on that day to help remember the time. Were you putting the children to bed? If so, it was in the evening. Did you just come home from a graduation party? If so, it was around June.
- Once you’ve done this, you can make a note of an approximate date of that incident—“around June of 2004, he hit me, choked me, threw an ashtray at my head”.
- Now, move on to the next incident you can remember, and do the same thing. By the time you go to court, you should have everything organized, and can go from year to year, incident to incident, describing the abuse.
You are allowed to bring these papers into court to help you remember and have your thoughts organized. The judge will even let you read from the papers if you’d like. This can help you so much, because when you are in front of the judge, or in front of your batterer, you might feel nervous or afraid, and you might not be able to clearly organize your thoughts. It’ll go much more smoothly if you have it all organized and written out for yourself. Example below:
June of 2010: he hit me, choked me, threw an ashtray at me after accusing me of flirting with a friend at a graduation party.
August of 2010: He came to my job and was yelling at me so much that my co-worker, Sharon Miller, called the police (ask Sharon to come to court to testify to that, and get a copy of that police report from the police department who responded).
December of 2010: He came home drunk after being at a bar all evening. He shoved my son into a wall, and then threw the Christmas tree on the front lawn. My next door neighbor, Donald Heckson saw him throw the tree outside (ask Donald to come to court with you). He then choked me and left bruises on my arms where he grabbed me. The next day, I went to lunch with my mother and she saw the fingerprint bruises on my arms (ask mom to come to court to testify to the bruises she saw).