If you found this page because you need help and are in immediate danger, please call 911 immediately.
When you are a victim of family violence, stalking, or sexual assault, it can be very hard to know how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Please remember, you do not deserve the abuse and it is not your fault. Help is available, and there is hope.
Protective Orders are the best way in civil court to legally protect yourself and members of your household from an individual committing family violence, stalking, or sexual assault in Texas. The definition of family violence in Texas includes any intimate partner violence, including dating violence and violence between same-sex partners or opposite-sex partners, whether the relationship is ongoing or has ended. A specific relationship with the abuser is not required for sexual assault and stalking protective orders. You do not need to be married and you do not need to have children for a family law attorney to help you get a protective order in the greater Austin area.
When you need protection, our family law attorneys can get an emergency protective order for you so you are protected until a judge can review the evidence and issue a final protective order against your abuser. This order can even provide for a kick-out, meaning the judge will kick the abuser out of your home if you reside together. Most final protective orders last two years, but some can be renewed based on various factors including if the orders are violated by the abuser during the course of protection. Protective orders can last up to a lifetime in cases of sexual assault and stalking.
Protective orders are unique in many ways from other court orders, including temporary restraining orders, in that the police will actually arrest the subject of a protective order if s/he violates the order. When a protective order is in place, if the abuser shows up at your home or place of work, the police can arrest that individual. A temporary restraining order might not result in arrest if no other crimes were committed. This is why protective orders serve as the ultimate protection in civil family law matters.
If you or members of your household, including children, are a victim of physical, sexual or stalking abuse, it is important to immediately call the police when an incident occurs and apply for a protective order as soon as possible. If there is a history of police reports regarding the abuse, it is more likely that a protective order will be granted. You may also report the incident after it occurs, even if it’s been months, though timely reports are critical to obtaining necessary protection. An attorney can help you no matter what your circumstances.
Once it is in place, it is important that you report every violation of the protective order to the police and to your attorney. Violations leading to an arrest could be as small as sending you a text message if that’s strictly prohibited by the protective order. This will help you renew the protective order if need be and also keep you safe by possibly jailing your abuser for violations. Repeated violations may result in a felony and serious jail or prison time.
If you or members of your family or household are in immediate danger, call 911. When you are safe, reach out to safe supports and resources to help, including an attorney. If you are seeking an emergency or final protective order and need help, contact our office online or call us at 512-944-3329 for a free consultation to discuss your options. The Law Office of Brandon Bledsoe serves many counties in the central Texas area including Travis County, Williamson County, Hays County, Bastrop County, Bell County, and more.
Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful.
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or Text START to 88788
National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
SAFE Austin - Stop Abuse for Everyone - SAFE offers shelter/housing, face-to-face and digital support, counseling services, prevention and education, and advocacy to victims of abuse and the community in the Greater Austin area.
Interactive Safety Plan from the National Domestic Violence Hotline - *Do not use this resource on a device you suspect is monitored by your abuser.