Abuse prevention orders are commonly known as restraining orders.

If you do not feel safe, you may apply for a restraining order at District Court (or through the local police if the Court is closed) to help protect yourself and your family from:

You can only get a restraining order if the abuser is:

  • A person to whom you are or were married
  • A person you are or were in a dating or engagement relationship
  • A person you haven’t been married to but are or were related to by blood or marriage (for example, cousin, brother-in-law, brother
  • A person with whom you have had a child, regardless of whether you have ever been married or lived together
  • A person you are not related to currently but are or formerly were members of the same household

Restraining Orders may be customized to include (but are not limited to);

  • An order not to commit further abuse
  • A “no contact”, stay-away order (from home, work, and/or school)
  • A vacate order to leave a shared residence
  • An order directing your attacker to pay you for losses suffered as a result of the abuse, including medical and moving expenses, cost for restoring utilities and replacing a lock, and other out-of-pocket losses for injuries and property damage sustained.
State Specific Guidelines:


New Hampshire

  • You can get an order against
    • A family/household member
    • A former partner 
    • A current partner
    • Sexual or intimate partner
  • According to N.H. Rev. Stat. § 173-B:1(I),(X),(XV) a partner is  someone who you currently or formerly had a romantic relationship with (it doesn’t matter if you never had sexual relations with this person)
  • To apply in New Hampshire, you would have to go to a courthouse and fill out the paperwork. 
  • The judge then will hold a hearing within 30 days of the serving of the defendant/abuser

Rhode Island 

  • You can get multiple violence restraining orders such as domestic violence and workplace violence. 
  • For more information on getting a restraining order or a no-contact order in Rhode Island visit – http://www.ricadv.org/en/restraining-orders
    • Domestic Violence Orders
      • Emergency Order:
        • Over the phone – expires within a business day. After doing so, you would need to go to the Court to extend it. These orders are usually given when the Courts are closed and you need immediate protection. 
      • Temporary Order:
        • You need to file in Court for this order. This order is usually given if the Court believes that an immediate and severe, injury, loss, or damage will happen to you. 
      • Final Order:
        • This order lasts up to three years and you can extend it after that time as well. You can still get an order if the abuser doesn’t show up to Court. 
      • RI Gen. Laws § 15-15-4(b); § 8-8.1-4(b)
      • RI Gen. Laws §§ 8-8.1-4(a)(2); 15-15-4(a)(2)
      • RI Gen. Laws §§ 8.8-1.3(i); 15-15-3(m)(2)

Saheli advocates can help you to get a restraining order. Call Saheli at 866-472-4354  or an advocate at any shelter or anti-domestic violence agency for help and more information