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Personal protection orders are important documents that can help protect you and your family. Unfortunately, they’re not always adhered to by batterers. Here are the steps you should take if someone violates your personal protection order (PPO).
1. Document everything about the violation. If your abuser contacts you electronically, take screen shots of the texts or emails, making sure to capture the date and time stamp and email address or phone number. If he or she calls your cell phone, take screen shots of that as well. If the call comes to a landline, write down what time the call came in and what number it came from. Do not engage in conversation with your abuser.
2. Call the police. Violating a court order is a crime. Your PPO will specify how the defendant is permitted to have contact with you, if at all. If the order states there is to be no contact, then it means no contact. That includes seemingly benign or even “polite” contact. Report all incidents of violations to your local police department as soon as possible. If your abuser contacts you in person and you feel threatened in any way, call 911. If he or she contacts you via telephone or electronically, call the police and have the above documentation handy so you’re prepared to describe details of the violation. Your police department will confirm the PPO as part of its investigation. But keeping it with you may save some time in affecting an arrest.
3. Consider your safety. If your abuser isn’t arrested right away for the violation and you feel as though your safety is in danger, take steps to protect yourself by alerting security staff at your workplace, not adhering to your known routine and relocating to somewhere safe, which may be with a friend or at a domestic violence shelter.
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