In Arkansas, there are three types of court orders typically used to protect victims of domestic abuse:
Restraining Orders are different from an Order of Protection. Restraining Orders are issued in the context of a divorce or other civil proceeding to prohibit the parties from harassing one another and also requires both parties to protect the marital property interests during the time preceding the divorce. Restraining Orders are enforced by the court when a party seeks a contempt citation following a violation. The court should be notified should a Restraining Order be violated, not law enforcement, as this is not a criminal offense.
“No Contact” Orders
When criminal charges are involved, a “No Contact” Order may be issued, which directs the defendant to have no contact with the victim and the victim’s family. The order remains in effect until the date of trial. After conviction, the prosecutor can request that the order be extended and made a condition of the defendant’s probation.
Order of Protection
An Order of Protection my be issued by the court when the judge finds that a petitioner (victim) has been threatened or harmed by a respondent (offender) and is in immediate and present danger of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse can be either physical or sexual abuse. To qualify for an Order of Protection, the petitioner and respondent must qualify as “family or household members.”