Protection Order Overview

Washington State law allows for a person to file a civil case in court asking a judge to grant an order to protect them from another person whose behavior is abusive, threatening, exploitive or seriously alarming.  The primary purpose of most is to order the "respondent" to not contact or harm the "petitioner."  Unlike other protection orders, an Extreme Risk Protection Order does not provide protection to the petitioner.  Its primary purpose is to order the respondent to surrender weapons.

There are 6 types of protections orders, intended for specific situations. State law establishes who can seek them, who they can protect, who they can restrain, the types of protections and relief they offer, when and where court hearings are conducted, what costs may be incurred, etc. 

  • Antiharassment Protection Order (RCW 10.14)
  • Domestic Violence Protection Order (RCW 26.50)
  • Sexual Assault Protection Order (RCW 7.90)
  • Stalking Protection Order (RCW 7.92)
  • Vulnerable Adult Protection Order (RCW 74.34)
  • Extreme Risk Protection Order (RCW 7.94)

Two types of protection orders are primarily filed in District Court: Antiharassment and Stalking.  A case can be transferred to or filed in Superior Court IF:

  • The petitioner/victim or the respondent (harasser/stalker) is under 18 years old.
  • The action involves title or possession of real property, and the respondent claims an interest in that property such as ownership or right to occupy.
  • The action would interfere with the respondent's care, control or custody of his/her child under 18.
  • The Superior Court has jurisdiction over a case involving the petitioner/victim and the Respondent.

Petitioners choose which type of protection order is most appropriate for them to pursue. However, protection orders do not cover everyone’s needs; there may be other legal remedies that are appropriate.

What type of protection order should you file? (PDF flowchart)

What type of protection order should you file? (PDF Document)

Where to file your antiharassment petition? (PDF flowchart)

Protection order FAQ's (PDF)

Other types of orders

No-contact orders:  Requested by the prosecuting attorney in a criminal case to protect the victim or witness of the crime.  For information about obtaining or terminating a criminal “no-contact” order, contact the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney.

Restraining orders:  Requested by the parties as part of an existing domestic case such as a divorce or a case to determine paternity, custody, child support or visitation.  To read about restraining orders, visit www.washingtonlawhelp.org.  To download domestic restraining order forms,visit Washington Pattern Forms: www.courts.wa.gov/forms