If you are a victim and your abuser has a gun or you feel unsafe for other reasons, it is important to work with a victim advocate. The following organizations can help you find an advocate free of charge:
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE;
- VictimConnect at (855) 484-2846;
- Louisiana Statewide Hotline at (888) 411-1333;
- Any of the local domestic violence programs listed here.
It is also helpful to have a lawyer assist you, particularly when you are seeking a protection from abuse order. You can find a lawyer using the Louisiana Bar’s website. If you cannot afford a lawyer, information about free- and low-cost legal help is available from LouisianaLawHelp.
How to Get Protection
What kinds of protection from abuse orders are available in Louisiana?
Louisiana courts can issue three types of protection from abuse orders. In one of these orders, the court can help protect you from gun violence or threats of gun violence by an intimate partner:
- Emergency temporary restraining orders1*
- Temporary restraining orders (ex parte)2*
- (Final) protective orders3*
Louisiana prohibits some defendants* subject to (final) protective orders from possessing* firearms and requires them to get rid of their firearms within 48 hours.4 In (final) protective orders, courts can also order any other relief* they believe is necessary to protect you.5
How can you get a protection from abuse order?
Click here to see if you are eligible for a protection from abuse order in Louisiana.
You can find your local court here.
Court forms and Louisiana’s official guide to getting a protection from abuse order can be found here.
What do I do if I do not qualify for protection as a victim of domestic abuse but I still need protection from someone?
If you do not qualify for protection as a victim of domestic violence but need protection from someone (including a stranger, an acquaintance, or another person not covered under a domestic violence protection order), you might qualify for some other type of order. Contact VictimConnect at (855) 484-2846 or a lawyer for more information. You can find a lawyer using the Louisiana Bar’s website. If you cannot afford a lawyer, information about free- and low-cost legal help is available from LouisianaLawHelp.
How can the court help protect you?
In Louisiana, defendants* subject to (final) protective orders are prohibited from possessing* a firearm in certain cases.6
If a defendant is prohibited from possessing firearms, the court will:
- Require the defendant to declare in court or complete an affidavit, stating the number, serial number, and location of any firearms in their possession and complete a form with the same information;
- Provide that form to the local sheriff;
- Require the defendant to surrender all firearms to the sheriff* within 48 hours; and
- Require defendant to file proof of surrender within five days.7
At the petitioner’s request, sometimes courts provide additional protections from gun violence, such as:
- Ordering the defendant to turn over firearms to local law enforcement immediately;
- Ordering law enforcement to retrieve the defendant’s firearms if the defendant fails to turn them in;
- Requiring the defendant to appear before the court to self-report turning over their firearms as ordered;
- Directing law enforcement to follow up with the defendant to make sure the defendant turned over their guns as ordered;
- Scheduling a follow up compliance hearing* to ensure that the defendant has not accessed additional firearms since the order was issued;
- Ordering law enforcement to go to your home at scheduled times to check in on your safety;
- If the guns are shared marital property, the court can order the sale of the guns and divide the money between you;
- Ordering the defendant to stay away from you, your children, your family, and anyone else in immediate danger, based on the threats and/or actions of the defendant;
- Ordering the defendant not to hurt you or threaten to hurt you in the future;
- Anything else you need to be safe.
How will the court know what you need to protect you from the defendant’s firearms violence?
In your petition* and during any of the hearings* you participate in when you are seeking protection, you will have the opportunity to tell the court about the defendant’s* threats or acts of abuse, especially ones involving firearms. Every situation is different, and it is important to talk to a lawyer about your specific situation. You can find a lawyer using the Louisiana Bar’s website. If you cannot afford a lawyer, information about free- and low-cost legal help is available from LouisianaLawHelp.
Your story will help the court decide what relief* to give you. Whether you are filling out court forms or speaking directly to the court, it is important to tell the court about the violence you experienced (working with your lawyer, if you have one), especially if the defendant used or threatened to use a firearm against you, a member of your family, any member of the community, or your pet. Among other things, this may include telling the court:
- About incidents of physical violence or threats of physical violence and include dates wherever you can;
- How the defendant used firearms to hurt or threaten you, your family, your pet(s), or anyone in the community;
- If you fear that the defendant may use firearms violence or threats of firearms violence in the future;
- If the defendant has threatened to harm him/her/themself. This may be a sign that the defendant intends to use a dangerous weapon like a firearm against you, themself, or other people;
- If you can, the type(s), number, and location of firearms the defendant has access to.