What Type of Protection Order Do I Need?

There are a few different types of protection orders and it helps to know which one you need and what type of conduct each order addresses.

1. Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO)

Domestic Violence Protection Orders are issued under RCW 26.50.030. A petition under this provision is appropriate when the petitioner is alleging a prior incident or incidents of domestic violence. “Domestic violence” means physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, sexual assault or stalking (defined in RCW 9A.46.110). These acts may constitute “domestic violence” if committed by someone’s intimate partner (this includes former spouses or domestic partners), a family member or member of the household, or current or prior dating relationship.

2. Sexual Assault Protection Order (SAPO)

Sexual Assault Protection Orders are issued under RCW 7.90.020. A petition under this provision is appropriate where the petitioner is alleging the existence of non-consensual sexual conduct by the respondent that would not be addressed by a domestic violence protection order (described above). A request for an order may be filed on behalf of a minor child or vulnerable adult and a child between 16 and 18 years of old may file a petition him or herself.

3. Extreme Risk Protection Order

Extreme Risk Protection Orders are issued under RCW 7.94.040. Under this provision, if the Court finds that it is more likely than not that the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to self or others by having in his or her custody or control, purchasing, possessing , or receiving a firearm, the court shall issue an extreme risk protection order for a period of one year. The Court may consider: recent acts or threats of violence by the respondent against self or others, a pattern of acts or threats of violence by the respondent within the past twelve months, any behaviors that present an imminent threat of harm to self or others, a previous or existing extreme risk protection order against respondent, a violation of a previous or existing extreme risk protection order by respondent, respondent’s previous conviction for a domestic violence crime, respondent’s previous conviction for a hate crime, respondent’s ownership, access to or intent to possess firearms, previous unlawful use, display or brandishing or a firearm by respondent, history of use, attempted us or threatened use of physical force by respondent and history of stalking by respondent, any prior arrest of respondent for a felony offense or violent crime, corroborated evidence of a controlled substance abuse or alcohol abuse issue, recent acquisition of firearm by respondent.

4. Anti-Harassment Order

Anti-harassment protection orders are issued under RCW 10.14.080. The Court will grant an anti-harassment order if the Court finds, after a hearing, that it is more likely than not that the petitioner has been unlawfully harassed by the respondent. Unlawful harassment under this section means a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person which seriously alarms, annoys, harasses or is detrimental to such person, and which serves no legitimate or lawful purpose. The course of conduct must be such that would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress and shall actually cause substantial emotional distress to the petitioner. A “course of conduct” is a pattern of conduct comprised of a series of acts over a period of time that show a continuity of purpose, even if the period of time is short. Constitutionally protected conduct is not included as part of a harassing course of conduct.


DISCLAIMER: This post is intended to share my perspective, insights and some general information on various aspects of Domestic Violence Cases. It is not legal advice and is not intended to substitute for legal advice. You should consult an attorney to obtain legal advice for your individual situation and case.