How to Get a Personal Protection Order - PPO - in a Domestic Violence Situation

Rose Ludwick and Deborah Hackworth guest-host this episode, with guest Regina Ditmer, a Personal Protection Order Advocate in St. Joseph County.

What is a PPO?

A Personal Protection Order (PPO) is a court order to stop threats or violence against you. 

A PPO can help protect you from someone who is threatening, hurting or harassing you. You can get a PPO if you have a reasonable fear for your personal liberty or safety.

There are three types of PPOs:

  • Domestic Relationship PPO

  • Non-Domestic (Stalking) PPO

  • Non-Domestic (Sexual Assault) PPO

How Do I Get a PPO?

To apply for a PPO, you must file a petition with the court. You can utilize the resources of DASAS, and one of our advocates can assist you in completing the appropriate petition.

The petition is used to give the court important information it needs to decide whether to give you the order you want. As best you can, tell the court what the abuser has done to you and how you have been harmed. Try to remember the dates or times of year the events happened. You don't have to have police reports or other evidence to get a PPO, but if you do have them you should attach them to your petition. They can help the court understand what has happened to you.

You might be afraid the abuser will harm you if you don't get a PPO right away. You might be afraid the abuser will harm you if he or she finds out you are asking for a PPO. If so, you can ask for an emergency order. This emergency order is called an ex parte order. If you get an ex parte order, you won't have to wait for a hearing to get your order. With an ex parte order, the abuser won't know you're asking for a PPO until after you get your order.

If the judge requires a hearing before signing your order, it will be held within 21 days of the day you file your petition. If you don’t think you need an emergency order, or if a hearing is required, you must have a copy of the petition and a notice of hearing delivered to the abuser. The abuser will have the opportunity to attend the hearing and respond to the information in your petition. In this situation, the abuser will know you are asking for a PPO before you are protected by an order.

Enforcing Your PPO

You might be tempted for many reasons to let the abuser do things which violate your PPO. Maybe you feel safe now that you have the order. Maybe the abuser promises things will be different. The abuser may ask to come to your house to pick up the children, but your PPO bans the abuser from coming to your house. Whatever the reason, you should not agree to behavior that violates your PPO. The abuser can be arrested for behavior that violates your PPO even if you agreed to it. If you want to change your order before it expires, you must go back to court and ask the judge to modify or terminate it.  The Women’s Resource Center can assist you with this process.

If the abuser violates your PPO, you can call the police and report the violation. You can get support and information about enforcing your order by calling the Women’s Resource Center. You can also file a Motion to Show Cause asking the court to hold the abuser accountable for violating your order. For more detailed information about how to enforce your PPO contact the Women’s Resource Center.


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The mission of Domestic and Sexual Abuse Services is to lead efforts to end domestic violence and sexual assault in southwest Michigan. 

We will assist domestic violence and sexual assault survivors in clarifying their options, accessing community services that support personal choice and will provide a safe place for survivors and their children.  It is our strong desire to walk alongside survivors on their journey, whatever that may look like. 

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