Warning Provisions and Time Limits for Orders of Protection

Last updated May 2010

Warning provisions

Legislation should specifically preclude the use of warnings as a prerequisite for filing for a protection order, or be required as required evidence for obtaining a protection order.

Legislation should specifically preclude the use of warnings to violent offenders as a part of the police or judicial response to domestic violence and dowry-related violence.  Warnings do not promote offender accountability or communicate a message of zero tolerance for violence. See:  Duties of police and Duties of judiciary.

Time limits on orders for protection

Legislation should provide that orders for protection may be left in place for a minimum of one year.

Ideally, a protection order should be left in place permanently, and only terminated by a finding by a court, based on clear evidence, that there is no longer any danger to the complainant/survivor or that the demands for dowry will cease. That way, a complainant/survivor does not have to appear in court and possibly confront her abuser on a regular basis. The law should state that the termination of an order for protection must be the responsibility of the court.

The law of Minnesota, USA, allows orders for protection to be extended for up to 50 years in certain situations:

Relief granted by the order for protection may be for a period of up to 50 years, if the court finds: (1) the respondent violated a prior or existing order for protection on two or more occasions; or (2) the petitioner has had two or more orders for protection in effect against the same respondent. Subd. 6a (b)

Promising practice: The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (2005) of India states that a protection order shall be in force until the complainant/survivor applies for discharge, or until the Magistrate, upon receipt of an application from the complainant/survivor or the respondent, is satisfied that there is a change in the circumstances, requiring alteration, modification or revocation of the protection order.  Ch. IV, 25. Likewise, the Pakistan draft Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act, 2009 also states that a protection order is to remain in effect until the victim applies for its discharge or until the court receives information from the victim or accused that that circumstances have changed to merit alteration, modification or revocation. Either of those two circumstances would not, however, prevent a victim from applying for a new protection order after discharge of a previous one (Article 12).