File a Restraining Order

Create Forms and File for Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) in Washington

This website is sponsored by courts to help you prepare and e-file legal forms for a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) used across the Washington State.  

A DVPO is a type of a restraining order that orders an abuser to stay away from and not contact their victim or else face criminal charges.

The website leads you through a series of questions in plain language, with helpful explanations from court officials. Once you complete the questionnaires, you can download the latest official version (last updated April 2024) of court documents (PDF) or E-file these with the court. 

The case is sent to the court only when you e-file the forms.

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Process Overview

This website presents a list of questions, and then at the end generates the paperwork for DVPO.


This website provides a guided experience to people who are working themselves on preparing the court forms for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order.

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1. Take Screening

Select the specific protection order you want to file for. Then answer a few questions to determine your eligibility.

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2. Prepare Documents

Prepare the main set of your court documents by covering one topic at a time. Each topic offers questions in simple and non-legal language. Just do your best and in case you need help you can get reach out for help just with a few clicks.

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3. Consult Advocate (Optional)

Depending on your situation, we can suggest any trusted free victim advocacy non profits. The advocate can assist you with certain aspects of the case and safety planning. They can review your case documents, and talk to you directly to discuss your case.

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This website simplifies the filing to a couple of clicks, and get follow up notifications from the court. 


Step 1

You: Gather Evidence (if possible)

Gather evidence to support your case.

You can be granted the order even if you have no evidence.  

The fallowing are considered as evidence of domestic violence

Evidence Type 1: Pending Criminal Case
Judges are also more likely to issue an order if there is an ongoing criminal case, therefore it’s important to call such cases out when seeking a temporary restraining order.

When a judge sees that there’s a criminal case happening, they might think it means the police or the district attorney are pretty sure they can prove the crime happened.

Evidence Type 2: Photos of violence, injuries, damage
These are the most common types of evidence submitted. These can be photos of victim’s injuries inflicted by the abuser. It is helpful to add photos next to the related incident description to help create a complete picture for the judge.

Evidence Type 3: Print outs of messages, emails or transcripts of voicemail
You can take screenshots of text messages and attach them. Similarly you can print emails and attach them as pictures or PDF files. While in most cases you cannot submit digital files such as

Evidence Type 4: 911 Calls
Rather than just saying you called 911 or any specific hotline, you can make your case stronger by listing the following items

The number dialed in case of the domestic hotline
The date and time (or approximate date and time) when the call was made
Who made the call
What was reported on the call
Any specific details of the person who answer the 911 call e.g. male/female voice

Evidence Type 5: Medical Records. You can attach documentation of previous medical emergencies or injuries that resulted from the actions of the abuser. These could be hospital visit records, print outs from your hospital portal (E.g. mychart) showing details of your visit.

Evidence Type 6: Police reports
You can attach a copy of the police reports filed against abuser for domestic violence.

Evidence Type 7: Testimony
A testimony from a witness. The witness can be anyone such as a family member, neighbor a co-worker or a bystander. The testimony is just an essay written describing the incidents witnessed, with as many specifics as possible.

Step 2

You: Take Online Screening

Determine if your situation is roughly suitable for applying for a domestic violence protection order by taking a screening. You can being by entering your zip code in the top right corner.

Step 3

You: Create Case Documents - "Packet"

After the screening this website will guide you through the rest of the steps to creating the case documents.

Just for your knowledge: In order to apply for a domestic violence protection order (DVPO), you need to fill and submit a predefined set of official Washington court forms. These have questions aimed at understanding your situation and the people involved.

The most important form is the petition, and it's called Petition for Protection Order

Step 4

You: E-file with the court

To formally request the court, you need to submit the documents with the clerk at the court. This step is called filing, and doing it online is called E-filing.

Typically these are filed at your county's Superior Courts or District Court. Some of these courts are also called Family Justice Center.

Step 5

Judge Issues a Temporary Order

Depending on the facts and evidence presented, a Judge can issue a restraining order the same day until the hearing, called an Emergency Temporary Order. 

In relatively less risky situations, a temporary order is issued in a few days.

If there are no grounds or if the application is incomplete or the jurisdiction is incorrect the request for an order may be denied.  Optionally a hearing may be set for the parties to present their case.

The temporary order is only valid for about 3 weeks which is the amount of time until the hearing. If the hearing is delayed for any reason, you need to check with the court to ensure the temporary order is re-issued until the hearing.

Step 6

Law Enforcement: Delivers temporary order to the abuser

This would be done in one of the following ways:
  1. Clerk would have the abuser served by law enforcement.  You don't need to do anything in this case
  2. Clerk would give you a packet of temporary order and other documents, and you will have it formally served via another adult or legal courier to the abuser
  3. In some cases such as when the respondent address is unknown, a complete set of Temporary Order and supporting documents called the "911Packet" is handed to you. This is handy e.g. in case there is a confrontation with the abuser and cops get called, the cops can hand over physically the 911-packet to the abuser.

Step 7

You, Abuser: Attend Court Hearing

Attend a hearing: The court holds a hearing within a couple of weeks where the evidence is examined. If there is sufficient supporting evidence as determined by a Judge, a full restraining order is issued. At this point it becomes a crime for the abuser to break the conditions of the restraining order.

If the abuser misses this hearing even though they were served the court order on time (about 1 week before the hearing) then you might get the court order automatically i.e. without discussion and further evidence.  

Step 8

You: Collect Final Order

After the hearing, a final order may be issued. You can take a paper copy of the order with you for your record, and which can be crucial if you have to call the police for a future incident. The order is typically valid for 1 year.

Legal Definition

The definition was updated in 2021 to include more subtle abuses. It is important because a protection order will be issued if the abuser's behavior is shown to meet the definition. 


R.C.W. § 7.105.010(9) “Domestic violence” is abuse perpetrated against any of the following persons:

  1. A spouse or former spouse.
  2. A cohabitant or former cohabitant.
  3. A person with whom the respondent is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship.
  4. A person with whom the respondent has had a child, where the presumption applies that the male parent is the father of the child of the female parent.
  5. A child of a party or a child who is the subject of an action under the Uniform Parentage Act, where the presumption applies that the male parent is the father of the child to be protected.
  6. Any other person related by consanguinity or affinity within the second degre


This website provides a guided experience to people who are working themselves on preparing the court forms for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order.

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1. Victim 15+ years

Anyone 15 years or older, and without a parent's permission can create the paperwork and file to start a case.  


2. On behalf of a minor (under 18)

Someone 15 or older can petition on behalf of a minor who is a family or household member. 


3. On behalf of a senior or disabled person

An adult can file on behalf of a vulnerable adult


Here are the typical restrictions places on the abuser via the restraining order. 


Stay Away From You

Abuser would have to stay at least 100 yards away from you, your children and locations you request such as your work


Not to contact you

Not to contact you via phone or text or mutual friends


Not stalk you

Not stalk you or your loved ones, including your accounts on facebook or other social media


Hand over a car

Get access to cars held by the abuser


Vacate the shared residence

The respondent can be asked to vacate the shared residence. You can also request help from police to kick them out. 


Handover Passport, Cell phone, Medications etc.

You an ask for your personal items such as passport, medications, clothes. This would be applicable if you were living together up to now.


Don't post intimate images

Take down, delete, and do not distribute intimate images of a protected person, as defined in RCW 9A.86.010


Restrict Abusive Litigation

This is to prevent the misuse of the legal system to harass, intimidate, or burden you.


Get Drugs, Mental health and Sex Offender Treatment

You can request the abuser to seek treatment for alcoholism, drug use, domestic violence abuse (RCW 43.20A.735) or sex offender (RCW 18.155.070) 


Your case documents are filed at a Superior or District Court in your county. Here are examples of some. 


How does a DVPO help the victim?

As a legal warning, it forces the abuser to stay away from you and comply with other conditions or else they will be charged with a crime and face prison time. Furthermore by taking guns away from the abuser it can reduce the risk of fatality. 

How much does it cost?

Its free.

Do I need a lawyer to get a DVPO?

No, a lawyer is not required. However, having a lawyer in any legal situation can benefit you.

How long does it take to get a protection order?

You can get a temporary protection order the same day as you file in case of an emergency as long as you apply on a business day and typically by noon.  Regular (non emergency) orders may be issued in a few days. While some cases may be decided only at a hearing in 2-3 weeks. 

How long is a DVPO in force for?

A DVPO is typically issued for one year, though it can be requested for a different period like 5 years.  It can be renewed as well. 

How long does it take to get a protection order?

You can get a temporary protection order the same day as you file in case of an emergency as long as you apply on a business day and typically by noon.  Regular (non emergency) orders may be issued in a few days. While some cases may be decided only at a hearing in 2-3 weeks. 


Washington Courts

Official website of the Washington Courts which provides court forms and instructions.

Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs

WCSAP unites agencies engaged in eliminating sexual violence and provides information and training to members

Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence

WSCADV is a resource for programs that assist domestic violence survivors and their families

Victim Information and Notification Everyday

The VINE system is a free service that allows petitioners to register for notification when a protective order of any type that has been served or is about to expire.

Do Protection Orders Help?

Here the outcome of a research on domestic violence from University of New Hampshire

Reduce Violence

1. Reduce Violence

Civil protective orders (such as a Domestic Violence Protection Order, an Anti-harassment Protection Order, a Sexual Assault Protection Order) are effective in reducing violence and harassment. For example, for half the women in the sample studied, a protective order stopped the violence. For the other half, the orders significantly reduced violence and abuse.

Cost Effective

2. Cost Effective

They are a relatively low-cost solution, particularly when compared with the social and personal costs of partner violence.


3. Cities vs. Countryside

The impact of civil protective orders on reducing violence and abuse did not differ for rural (country side) and urban (cities) women. In rural areas, where resources and services for partner violence may be more limited, it is critical to reduce barriers to obtaining protective orders as research indicates they may be an effective resource. Community-level barriers to enforce civil protective orders exist for women in rural areas.


The abuser may react to your filing for a restraining order


the abuser particularly in domestic violence situations may react with anger due to the perceived loss of control over you and your household. 

Murder or Physical Harm

A particular risk is if the respondent has access to guns or other firearms they might actually kill you. Here's an example from 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana   

Harming or taking away children

Fearing restrictions on custody or visitations the abuser may preemptively take the children away or just call the Child Protective Services against you.

Damaging jointly owned property

The respondent make drain bank accounts, max out credit cards, damage cars or houses or do other damage to jointly owned property. 

Weaponize Immigration Status or Health Insurance

The abuser may report you or your loved ones undocumented US immigration status to the U.S authorities, or cancel health insurance.

Spreading false information about you

The abuser may spread false information particularly on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or other social media. 

Calculating the Risk Level

The Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) is a questionnaire used by law enforcement and other professionals, often in the context of domestic violence situations, to assess the risk of murder in cases involving intimate partner violence.

The questionnaire has about 20 questions designed to evaluate the severity and potential danger of a situation. These questions may cover aspects such as the presence of weapons, history of violence, threats of harm, and other factors that could indicate an increased risk of lethal violence.

  1. Has the physical violence increased in severity or frequency over the past year?
  2. Does the abuser own a gun? Or has he ever used a weapon against you or threatened you with a lethal weapon particularly a gun?
  3. Have you ever lived together? And if yes then have you left the abuser after living together during the past year?
  4. Is he unemployed?
  5. Has the abuser threatened to kill you? Do you believe he is capable of killing you?
  6. Does he threaten to harm your children?
  7. Does he ever try to choke/strangle you or cut off your breathing? . If yes to the previous question, has he done it more than once, or did it make you pass out or blackout or make you dizzy?
  8. Has he avoided being arrested for domestic violence?
  9. Do you have a child with the abuser which is not his
  10. Has he ever forced you to have sex when you did not wish to do so?
  11. Does he use illegal drugs? By drugs, I mean “uppers” or amphetamines, “meth”, speed, angel dust, cocaine, “crack”, street drugs or mixtures. . Is he an alcoholic or problem drinker?
  12. Does he control most or all of your daily activities? For instance, does he tell you who you can be friends with, when you can see your family, how much money you can use, or when you can take the car? 18. In reference to the previous question, do you let him control most or all of your activities?
  13. Is he violently and constantly jealous of you? (For instance, does he say: “If I can’t have you, no one can.”)
  14. Have you ever been pregnant by him? Have you ever been beaten by him while you were pregnant?
  15. Has he ever threatened or tried to commit suicide?
  16. Have you ever threatened or tried to commit suicide?
  17. Does he follow or spy on you, leave threatening notes or messages, destroy your property, or call you when you don’t want him to?

Court Forms Created

When you pass the screening and complete the questionnaires, you can then download the following standard court forms filled correctly with your information. These court forms are provided by the Washington Courts.


Core Forms

  • PO 001 Petition for Protection Order
  • PO 003 Law Enforcement and Confidential Information Form
  • PO 030 Temporary Protection Order and Hearing Notice
  • PO 004 Proof of Service
  • WS 001 Order to Surrender and Prohibit Weapons Without Notice
  • PO 036 Order Transferring Case and Setting Hearing


In Washington there are six types of civil protection orders, with Domestic Violence Protection Order being one of them. 

Domestic Violence Protection Order

Domestic violence is abuse from a romantic partner, or a family or a household member. The abuse can involve physical or sexual violence, or a pattern of harassment or controlling behavior or merely threats to harm.

Sexual Assault Protection Order

This protection order applies to situations involving unwanted sexual conduct by someone who is not a romantic partner or a member of the victim's family or household.

Anti-harassment Protection Order

For protection against any kind of unlawful or harassing behavior that is annoying or stressful and that serves no lawful purpose.

Vulnerable Adult Protection Order

Vulnerable adults means senior citizens or other persons who have physical or mental disabilities. This protection order is aimed at protection them from someone who is mistreating them or exploiting them financially.

Stalking Protection Order

May be filed by someone who is experiencing stalking conduct by someone who is not a romantic partner or, a family or household member.

Extreme Risk Protection Order

This is aimed at restricting access to firearms from someone who poses significant danger to self or others. This protection order must be requested by a family or household member or a law enforcement agency.