How to Get a Protective Order

The following information is intended to be used for educational purposes only. It is not legal advice. For information specific to your situation, please contact the Belles Against Violence Office for referral resources (574-284-4081 or


What is a Protective Order (“PO”)?

  • A protective order (or order of protection), usually prohibits one person (respondent) from doing the following to another person (petitioner):
    • Committing domestic violence, stalking, or a sex offense against the petitioner; and
    • Contacting the petitioner;
    • Visiting the petitioner’s residence, school, and place of employment.
    • Other types of relief are available through the PO
    • Protective orders must be self-enforced by the petitioner (i.e. someone must call to report a PO violation).
  • There is no fee for filing a petition for an order of protection.
  • In order to file for a protective order, a petitioner must know:
    • Respondent’s correct name;
    • Respondent’s date of birth or Social Security number; and
    • Respondent’s current address.
  • If granted, the protective order is valid in all 50 states.


Who can file for a PO?

The petitioner must have actual, first-hand knowledge of an event OR an affidavit of someone with first-hand knowledge of an event.

Survivors of Domestic Violence

  • Domestic violence relationships include:
    • Current or previous dating relationships
    • Current or previous history of intimate or sexual relationship
    • Current or former marriage
    • Relation by blood or adoption
    • Individuals with a child in common
    • Individuals with a legal relationship (i.e. foster parent)
  • Definition of domestic violence:
    • Attempting, threatening or causing physical harm to a family or household member;
    • Placing a family or household member in fear of physical harm; or
    • Harming a vertebrae animal with the intent to intimidate a family or household member.

Survivors of Sex Offenses

  • Sex offenses include:
    • Rape;
    • Criminal deviate conduct;
    • Sexual battery;
    • Sexual misconduct with a minor;
    • Child molesting, child exploitation, and child solicitation; and
    • Vicarious sexual gratification.

Survivors of Stalking

  • Definition of Stalking – two or more times of harassment that causes a person to feel terrorized, frightened, or intimated

How do I get a PO?

You can file for a Petition for a Protection Order at:

The Family Justice Center of St. Joseph County
533 N. Niles Avenue
South Bend, IN 46617
Phone: 574-234-6900
Hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Small Claims Court in South Bend
1855 Courthouse, 112 South Lafayette St.
Phone: 574-235-9794
Hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday
Small Claims Court in Mishawaka

County Services Building, 219 Lincoln Way West
Phone: 574-256-6214
Hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday


Would you like support or assistance in the process?

Belles Against Violence Office is present to provide support through the protective order process.

In addition, legal assistance with protective orders is available through the Family Justice Center of St. Joseph County and the YWCA of North Central Indiana. Staff members provide assistance in completing the form and are available to answer questions regarding the process. 

Family Justice Center of St. Joseph County
533 N. Niles Avenue
South Bend, IN 46617

YWCA North Central Indiana
1102 South Fellows St.
South Bend, IN 46601