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 (7233);
- Call to Safety Crisis Line at (888) 235-5333;
- VictimConnect at (855) 484-2846;
- Any of the local domestic violence programs or dual domestic violence/sexual assault program found here.
It is also helpful to have a lawyer assist you, particularly when you are seeking a domestic violence restraining order. You can find a lawyer using the Oregon Bar’s website or call them at (800) 452-7636. If you cannot afford a lawyer, free- and low-cost legal help is available from Legal Aid Services of Oregon and the Oregon Law Center.
How to Get Protection
What kind of domestic violence restraining order is available?
Oregon courts can issue a Family Abuse Prevention Act restraining order (“FAPA order”)1 that can help protect you from gun violence or threats of gun violence by an intimate partner.
Oregon has a two-step process for obtaining a FAPA order. First, a judge can issue a FAPA order based on what you say and the evidence you present in court – the respondent* is not there.
The respondent then has 30 days to ask the judge to hold a hearing at which both you and the respondent can present your evidence. If the respondent does not ask for a hearing or if the judge decides in your favor at the hearing, the protective order stays in place and the respondent is automatically prohibited from purchasing or possessing* firearms.2
The court can also order whatever relief* it believes is necessary to protect you in a FAPA order,3 including prohibiting the respondent from purchasing or possessing firearms in a FAPA order issued in the first step. The court can also tell the respondent that they have to get rid of their guns in either step.
How can you get a Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA) restraining order?
Click here to see if you are eligible for a FAPA restraining order in Oregon.
You can find your local court here.
What do I do if I do not qualify for protection as a victim of domestic violence 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 another type of order. Contact VictimConnect at (855) 484-2846 or a lawyer for more information.You can find a lawyer using the Oregon Bar’s website or call them at (800) 452-7636. If you cannot afford a lawyer, free- and low-cost legal help is available from Legal Aid Services of Oregon and the Oregon Law Center.
How can the court help protect you?
Oregon law says that respondents* to FAPA orders are prohibited from possessing* firearms after, at the respondent’s request, the court holds a hearing at which the respondent has the opportunity to appear.4The respondent is also automatically prohibited from possessing firearms if they do not request a hearing within 30 days after the FAPA order is served*.5
Oregon courts can also order whatever relief*they deem necessary to protect you – this means that if your case is not fully covered under the law cited above, a court can still protect you from gun violence.6 Some of the things a court can order include:
- Requiring the respondent to turn over his/her/their firearms to local law enforcement immediately;
- Prohibiting the respondent from purchasing or possessing firearms while the order is in effect;
- Ordering law enforcement to retrieve the respondent’s firearms respondent does not turn them as directed by the court;
- Requiring the respondent to appear before the court to self-report turning over their firearms as ordered;
- Directing law enforcement to follow up with the respondent to make sure the respondent turned over their guns as ordered;
- Scheduling a follow up compliance hearing* to ensure that the respondent 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;
- Ordering the respondent to stay away from you, your children, your family, and anyone else in immediate danger, based on the threats and/or actions of the respondent;
- Ordering the respondent 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 respondent’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 respondent’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 Oregon Bar’s website or call them at (800) 452-7636. If you cannot afford a lawyer, free- and low-cost legal help is available from Legal Aid Services of Oregon and the Oregon Law Center.
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 respondent 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 respondent used firearms to hurt or threaten you, your family, your pet(s), or anyone in the community;
- If you fear that the respondent may use firearms violence or threats of firearms violence in the future;
- If the respondent has threatened to harm him/her/themself. This may be a sign that the respondent 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 respondent has access to.