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How to File an Adult Order of Protection in Missouri

If you have been physically assaulted, emotionally abused, or you don’t feel safe because of threats of physical or emotional abuse or stalking you can file an adult order of protection. It’s free. You can request assistance from law enforcement, the circuit clerk’s office, or your local domestic violence shelter. We also routinely assist and review orders of protection for clients before they file them, or we file them on their behalf. Know that help is available to complete and file an order of protection 24 hours per day.

Oftentimes clients come to us and state that it doesn’t matter if an order of protection is entered; that it won’t keep them safe. We hear you.

However, once filed, orders of protection have criminal penalties if violated. The abuser can be criminally charged. Orders of protection also serve to put abusers on notice that their behavior will not be tolerated. Sometimes this is what it takes to get abusers to realize that their behavior is wrong and to change their ways. Orders of protection that are violated also often result in stiffer penalties for crimes later committed against the victim. Having a record of an order of protection is helpful to law enforcement in many ways. It also puts the court on notice that you were afraid and concerned enough that you filed an order of protection.

If you are thinking about filing an order of protection, we also urge you to come up with a safety plan. Who will you call if you are afraid? Where will you stay? Do you have a code word with close family or friends for when the abuser shows up? Do you have extra clothes, a burner phone, and cash at that friend’s or family member’s home? Where are you keeping an extra set of keys? Are you taking a different route to work or to pick up the kids?

If you have questions about domestic violence or filing an order of protection in Missouri, we can help. Never underestimate the importance of filing an order of protection to protect your personal safety.