The Legal Services Program at Crisis Line & Safe House assists with TPOs (Temporary Protective Orders) in Bibb, Crawford, Jones, Twiggs, and Peach Counties.
There are three types of TPOs in Georgia: Family Violence TPOs, Stalking TPOs, and Dating Violence TPOs. TPOs, in general, are orders that restrain the Respondent (the abuser/perpetrator) from engaging in abusive or harassing behaviors against the Petitioner (the victim). It restrains the abusive party from contacting the victim, harassing the victim, or coming within 150 yards of the victim. There are also provisions such as restricting visitation, granting use of a shared home or vehicle, or restricting access to firearms. A violation of a TPO could result in the Respondent being arrested for Aggravated Stalking. TPOs must be filed in the county where the abusive party resides. In some instances, like if the abuser lives outside of the State of Georgia, a TPO can be filed in the county where the victim resides.
Family Violence TPOs require a specific relationship between the Petitioner and Respondent: Current or Former Spouses, Persons who share a child, Persons who live together or used to live together, Parent and Child, Stepparent and Stepchild, or Foster Parent and Foster Child. In addition to the required relationship, there also must be an act of family violence, as defined in Georgia law.
Dating Violence TPOs, like Family Violence TPOs, require a specific relationship between the Petitioner and Respondent: Persons currently in a committed romantic relationship or persons in a committed romantic relationship in the last six months OR either party is pregnant with the other party’s child. In addition to the required relationship, there also must be an act of dating violence, as defined by Georgia law.
Stalking TPOs do not require any specific relationship between the Petitioner and Respondent, but they do require that the Petitioner show that there has been a pattern of harassing or stalking behavior. This can include things like being followed, repeated unwanted contact, etc. In general, stalking orders cannot be filed based on one-time incidents.
Crisis Line & Safe House Legal Advocates assist victims to complete the legal documents required to file a TPO. In 2018, the Legal Program expanded to include two attorneys. These attorneys provide legal advice and representation to victims related to divorce, child custody and visitation, immigration matters such as VAWA Petitions, U Visas, or T Visas, housing disputes, and employment law matters. There is no cost for the services provided by our advocates or attorneys. There are no costs or fees associated with filing a TPO. Clients may be asked to pay court costs and filing fees related to other filings.
To reach an advocate or to be referred to one of our staff attorneys, or if you think you may qualify for, or you have questions about qualifying for a TPO, call 478-745-9292. If you are not yet ready to leave an abusive relationship, our advocates can still help. We provide referrals, information about your options, and safety planning.