If another person makes you fear for your health and safety, the law does provide relief via protective orders. However, not all protective orders are created equal, and state law provides for different protections for different types of filers.
Utah Courts guide victims of violence towards the best protective orders for their unique circumstances. In doing so, it covers four common instances in which you may need a protective order.
When you live with the abuser
If you live with or used to live with, are or were married to, are or were sexually involved with, have or had children together with, expect a child with, or are the parent, child, step-parent, step-child, grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, nephew, niece or sibling or the abuser, you may qualify for a cohabitant protective order. The law issues this type of order to protect victims against threats of physical harm or violence, actual physical harm or violence and domestic violence.
To file for this type of order, you must be at least 16 years old. However, as a 16 or 17-year-old, you cannot file for a protective order against a parent or minor sibling.
When you are romantically involved with the abuser
If you and the abuser have a romantic or dating relationship, you may file for a dating violence protective order. The courts may consider a relationship as a “dating relationship” if intimacy is the goal of one or both parties, and regardless of whether the relationship involves physical intimacy.
When you have no relationship with the abuser
Per Utah law, you may file for a sexual protective order despite you having no relationship with the subject of the order if the subject of the order sexually assaulted you. Sexual assault includes but is not limited to the following actions:
- Object rape
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Forcible sexual abuse
- Custodial sexual misconduct
- Custodial sexual relations
- Indecent exposure
- Sexual extortion
You may also file for a protective order if you are the subject of stalking.
State law provides you with several protections if another person caused you to fear for your health, safety or well-being. However, it is important that you identify the appropriate protective order given your circumstances so that you get the most benefit from it.