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Domestic Violence Protective Restraining Orders

There is a law in New Hampshire designed to protect any adult against domestic violence. That law is RSA 173-B.

To use the law, you do not have to be married to or even have lived with the person who abused you. The law protects you from abuse by current or former sexual or intimate partners, as well as past or present household or family members.

Applying for a Domestic Violence Protective Order is considered a civil action and the person applying is considered the 'plaintiff' and the alleged abuser is considered the 'defendant'.

What Can Protective Orders Do?

They may:

  • Order a person to stop abusing, threatening, harassing, or intimidating you or your household members, other relatives or friends.
  • Award custody of minor children (in most cases, the defendant will still have visitation rights with the children).
  • Direct the defendant to pay child support for those children.
  • Give petitioner the use of the home, furniture and/or car (if the property and/or car are in the defendant's name only and there are no children together, it will be unlikely that this will be granted).
  • Order the defendant to refrain from contacting you at, or entering your place of residence, employment or school.
  • Restraining the defendant from taking, converting or damaging property in which you have a legal or equitable interest.
  • Order the defendant to attend personal counseling, a parenting class and/or a batterer's intervention program.
  • Order the defendant to pay for costs caused by the most recent incident of abuse, such as medical fees, loss of wages, moving expenses, emergency shelter, damaged property, and attorney fees.
  • Order the defendant to turn over any and all weapons he or she may have to a peace officer (you should list the number, locations and kinds of weapons the defendant has).

How to Get a Domestic Violence Protective Order

You can ask for a temporary protective order in the District or Superior Court serving either the town in which you live, the town where the abuser lives or the town or city to which you went for safety. There are three courts, which serve our county:

Keene District Court
Serving the towns of Keene, Westmoreland, Surry, Stoddard, Chesterfield, Gilsum, Richmond, Nelson, Alstead, Roxbury, Sullivan, Harrisville, Hinsdale, Winchester, Walpole, Troy, Marlborough, Swanzey and Marlow

Jaffrey Peterborough District Court
Serving the towns of Jaffrey, Rindge, Fitzwilliam, Dublin, Temple, Sharon, Greenville, Greenfield, Peterborough, Hancock and New Ipswich

Cheshire County Superior Court
Serving all of Cheshire County.

You can also call Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention with questions about Protective Orders and/or assistance. Their telephone number is 603-352-3782. If available, an advocate from their office will assist and accompany you to the court for a Domestic Violence Petition.

A Domestic Violence Petition is an application for a DV Protective Restraining Order and is available at any one of the above courts. There is no cost for filing the protective order or for serving the papers on the abuser. You can call Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention and they can discuss the options with you.

For more details about the process of obtaining a protective restraining order download this pdf file.


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