Protection Orders

Types of protection orders

There are several different types of protection orders and restraining orders. The type of order that gets issued depends on how individuals may be related to each other and circumstances of the situation. An individual can also have more than one order placed against him or her, orders can overlap, and vary in their restraints. As a survivor/victim, it is important to keep a copy of your orders on your person at all times and to know the restraint provisions.

The following is a brief description of each type of order and how it can be obtained.

A No Contact Order (NCO) can be issued ONLY if the defendant has been charged with a domestic violence crime. The prosecuting attorney is the one that requests the criminal No Contact Order and a Judge can issue an NCO even if the victim does not want the NCO. The NCO is typically issued at arraignment or the first court hearing.

The No Contact Order states “do not contact the protected person, directly, indirectly, in person or through others, by phone, mail or electronic means (except for mailing/service of court documents through third party or contact by his/her attorney)”. The No Contact Order also states that the defendant cannot “knowingly enter, remain or come within 500 feet of the protected person’s residence, school or workplace”. This means that even if you, the listed victim are NOT at the residence but the residence is restricted, the defendant still cannot be at the listed residence.

The defendant faces additional charges and/or jail time if he/she violates the NCO. The defendant is the person responsible for complying with a No Contact Order and must refrain from contacting the victim as ordered by the Judge (even if the victim wants or invites the contact). A violation of the NCO is a crime and is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $5000 fine.

The only person who can change or remove a NCO is the Judge from the court where it was originally issued. The Olympia Municipal Court recognizes that a No Contact Order can have a huge impact on the victim.

If you are the victim of a domestic violence case and have concerns or questions about a No Contact Order, please contact Victim Assistance at 360.753.8408. Victim Assistance can provide insight to the case, tell you about court policies and help you understand the process in the Olympia Municipal Court.

A Civil Protection Order is issued when a survivor/victim of domestic violence goes on their own to a Superior Court and petitions for protection for her/him and/or for children. In a civil protection order, you (victim/survivor) are identified as the petitioner and the person you are seeking the order against is listed as the respondent. There does not need to be a police report or a reported crime to get this order.

This order does require that you have a certain type of relationship with the other person: married, separated, divorced, dated/dating, current or past adult roommates, parent/child (refer to RCW 26.50).

If you have fled to Thurston County or live in Thurston County, you can go to the Thurston County Family and Juvenile Court located at 2801 32nd Avenue SW in Tumwater to obtain this order (open Monday – Friday). There is no fee for this order and you do not need an attorney to get one.

If granted, this order is valid for two weeks and you will be asked to go back to the same court at the end of those two weeks to keep the order in effect. The respondent must be served and given notice of the two week hearing date. The respondent may appear and contest the civil order. At the two week hearing, the Judge can continue the case and/or grant you the order for a year or more depending on circumstances.

There sometimes can be more than one kind of protection order in effect involving the same people. For example, if you are a victim of a domestic violence crime and the Judge issued a No Contact Order but it did not cover your children then you can also petition for your own civil protection order to make sure that you AND your children have protection. If you have questions about getting a civil protection order, you are welcome to call The Thurston County Family and Juvenile Court at 360.709.3275.

A criminal charge must be pending and this order is imposed in cases involving sex offense allegations. The Judge can impose this order whether or not the victim wants one.

A sexual assault survivor can go to the Thurston County Family and Juvenile Court in Tumwater to petition for this order but you will be required to write in the petition the kind of sexual assault committed against you. If granted, the offender/respondent must be served and notified of the two week hearing. At the two week hearing, the Judge can grant the order to be in effect for a year or more. There is no fee and you do not need an attorney.

This order is different from civil protection orders because the victim is an acquaintance and/or a stranger to the offender.

This is actually an order that is part of a divorce decree, separation or parenting plan. This order can prohibit contact and clarify child custody, residency, etc. You usually have to pay a fee. You can call the Thurston County Family and Juvenile Court to inquire about how to obtain a divorce, separation or parenting plan if you live in this area.

A Civil Anti-Harassment Order is for individuals who need protection but are not in a domestic violence relationship (and sexual assault is not an element of the harassment). This order can be obtained even if there is no police involvement. There is usually a fee for this order but you can ask the Court if they would consider waiving the fee.

If you live in Thurston County, you can obtain a civil Anti-Harassment Order at the Thurston County Courthouse located at 2000 Lakeridge Drive, Building 3. You also can call the Thurston County District Court at 360.786.5450.

A Criminal Anti-Harassment Order helps protect crime victims that are also witnesses in charged crimes but not in a domestic relationship with the defendant. For example, if an acquaintance or a stranger hurt you and/or damaged your property then this order could be issued at the defendant’s first criminal hearing where the defendant is present.

Please note that to get this order the victim would have to reveal his/her full name and date of birth on the protection order which would be served on the defendant. Some victims want this order regardless but other crime victims do not want this information given to a defendant on the protection order for safety reasons.

If you are a victim in a non-domestic violence related crime and the defendant is being charged for a misdemeanor crime, you can contact the City of Olympia Prosecutor’s Office to find out what is happening with the case as well as inquire about whether or not it is appropriate to issue an AHO on your behalf.

How do I modify or remove a No Contact Order (NCO)?

If you are the defendant charged with a crime in which a No Contact Order may be or has been issued, you will need to consult with your attorney. Your attorney will notify you of the requirements and process to address the No Contact Order.

If you are the victim, you may request that the Court not issue, modify or lift a No Contact Order. To do so, you can fill out a Protected Person’s Statement form (link). Once you have filled it out, provide this form to the Victim Assistance Coordinator so that it can be filed with the Court on your behalf and the Victim Assistance Coordinator will keep you updated on the status of the request.

The Protected Person’s Statement simply lets the Courts/attorneys know your feelings regarding the No Contact Order but in no way guarantees that the NCO will not be issued or removed. Submitting a Protected Person’s Statement does NOT result in the victim getting a hearing date with the Olympia Judge.

It is the defendant’s responsibility to take the action necessary to get the No Contact Order modified or removed. The defendant should contact his/her attorney to get a hearing scheduled with the Judge once certain requirements are met. ONLY the defendant and/or defendant’s attorney can get a hearing on the No Contact Order, NOT the victim.


Contact Victim Assistance staff at 360.753.8408 or