Teen dating violence continues to be a problem in California and across the country. If you are a parent, you may be frustrated if your attempts to talk with the abusive partner and/or their parents have not been successful. What can you do to protect your child from another child? In California, you do have the option of requesting a restraining order. A juvenile restraining order can be issued if a court believes that it is necessary to protect a young victim. This is true even if the person you want to restrain is also minor.
What is a Juvenile Restraining Order?
Restraining orders are lawful court orders that (a) require or (b) prohibit a person from engaging in certain behavior. The purpose of a restraining order is to protect a person from abuse, harm, or trauma. Juvenile restraining orders are issued to protect a person under the age of 18. The person who is being protected by the order is known as the “protected person.” The person against whom the protective order is sought is known as the “restrained person.”
When a juvenile restraining order is issued, the restrained person can be:
- Required to maintain a certain distance from the protected person
- Prohibited from contacting or communicating with the protected person, and
- Prohibited from harassing, stalking, or threatening the protected person.
Who Can Request a Juvenile Restraining Order?
California takes threats of violence and abuse of children very seriously. As a result, there are few limitations on who can file a request for a juvenile restraining order. You can request a protective order if you are a:
- Caregiver, or
- Social worker.
All that really matters is that you share a special relationship with the victim and want to protect them.
How Can I Request a Restraining Order Against a Minor?
Here are the steps you need to take if you want to ask to court to issue a restraining order against a minor.
1. Gather Evidence of Bullying or Abuse
The first thing you must do is gather evidence of the abuse. The more information and evidence you have to support your request, the better your chances of obtaining a protective order. Evidence can include:
- Photographs of physical injuries
- Copies of abusive electronic communications (e.g., email, social media, text), and/or
- Statements from witnesses, including counselors and mental health professionals.
2. Complete and File the Appropriate Forms
A juvenile restraining order is a lawful court order. In order to obtain it, you must submit a formal request to your local court. In order to request a protective order for a juvenile, you must complete the following forms:
The forms will require you to provide the names of the protected person and restricted person, your relationship to the victim, and specific prohibitions you would like included in the protective order.
You must also identify the reason for requesting the juvenile restraining order. You can request an order if the person to be restrained has:
- Assaulted or attempt to assault the protected person
- Caused, threatened, or tried to cause, the protected person to suffer a bodily injury
- Caused, or tried to cause, the protected person to suffer emotional distress
- Sexually assaulted, or attempted to sexually assault, the protected person
- Stalked the protected person, or
- Engaged in other behavior that warrants an order of protection.
The minor against whom you are seeking the protective order and their parents must receive a copy of your request.
3. Argue Your Position in Court
When a judge sees that you have requested a protective order against a minor, they will likely set a date for a formal hearing. This hearing will give you and the defendant (person against whom the order is being sought) the opportunity to make your case personally in front of the judge. You will both also have the opportunity to present witnesses and evidence.
Enforcing the Juvenile Restraining Order
A judge will issue a protective order if he or she believes that it is necessary to protect the victim. The order itself can last for up to three years. The terms of the order can be carefully crafted to meet the needs of your specific situation. When protective orders are issued against a minor, it is imperative to get a child’s school’s assistance. Administrators and counselors can be instrumental in making sure that the restricted person follows the terms of the protective order. Violations of the protective order can have serious consequences.
Do you want to learn more about getting a restraining order against a minor? Our San Diego criminal defense attorneys are here to help you understand your rights. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.