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Domestic Violence Legal Options

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  • If police are called after an incident occurs, they will provide you with a police report number.
  • A police report does not have to be made immediately at the scene. Police can come to the hospital, to the victim’s home; or victim can report at a police precinct.
  • To obtain a police report from the report number the police have given you, you can request the report by mail using the form found at here.


  • To file criminal charges on your own, you will need to see the Court Commissioner at the nearest District Courthouse. At the Commissioner’s office, you will need to fill out an Application for Statement of Charges, describing what happened during the incident.
  • The Commissioner will either issue a summons (abuser will show up at court on own), or a warrant (police take abuser into custody – he or she may or may not stay in jail depending on bail being set).


Protective Orders are civil orders (not criminal) intended to provide victims of abuse with relief.
  • Protective orders can order an abuser to not abuse the victim, not contact the victim, not to come to the victim’s home or work, as well as temporary custody of children, financial assistance from their abuser, use of the family home, and use of a family car.
  • Orders can be granted for up to one year. If in the last year you have had a Final Protective Order granted against the same abuser, you may be eligible for a 2-year order. Who can file for a Protective Order? Persons who are married to abuser, have had a sexual relationship within the last year (consensual or non-consensual), have children together, or are related by blood, adoption, or marriage. If you do not have one of these relationships, you may seek a Peace Order.
Where can you file for a Protective Order?
  • Business hours: Go to District or Circuit Court clerk, request to file for a Temporary Protective Order
  • Non-business hours: Go to the commissioner to request an Interim Protective Order. If the Commissioner grants an Interim Protective Order, you will have to appear before a judge within 2 business days to have a hearing for a Temporary Protective order.
  • Fill out a Petition for Protection then appear before a Judge to explain why you need protection. You maybring photos, medical records, show marks or bruises, phone/text messages with threats, etc.
  • Law Enforcement will attempt to serve the abuser (Respondent).
  • If the court grants you a Temporary Protective Order, you will need to return to the court for a Final Protective Order hearing, generally 1 week later.
Age considerations:
  • If the victim is a minor, a parent or guardian may file on his or her behalf.
  • If the abuser is a minor, the victim may file for a Peace Order through the Department of Juvenile Services.
Best Option: Have an advocate help you through the process - intimate partner cases only.
  • Balt. Co. POARP (Protective Order Advocacy Representation Project) - Baltimore County Circuit Court - 401 Bosley Ave., Room 101: 410-887-3162
  • Baltimore House of Ruth Legal Clinic: 410-554-8463
  • Baltimore County Family Violence Unit Advocates: 410-853-3030
  • Balt. City POARP (Protective Order Advocacy Representation Project) - Baltimore City Circuit Court, 111 N. Calvert St., Medical Office, Room 100: 410-783-0377


  • Victim Info Notification Everyday (VINE) register for info on offender incarceration status: 1-866-634-8463
  • VINE Protective Order (VPO) specifically regarding Protective Order service: (see reverse): 1-877-846-3420
  • Criminal Injuries Compensation Board If you have a Police Report or Protective Order, you may qualify for financial assistance related to the incident (e.g. medical expenses, lost wages...): 410-585-3010
  • Crime Victims Resources Center Baltimore area: 410-234-9885 (outside Baltimore 1-877-842-8461)
  • Safe at Home – Address Confidentiality Program: 1-800-633-9657 x3875 11/17

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