SAPO Sexual Assault Protection Order



A sexual assault protection order is a civil order issued by the court on behalf of a sexual assault victim. The order can require the alleged perpetrator to stay away from the victim or place(s) where the victim lives or works and to have no further contact with the victim.

Any person 16 or older who is a victim of sexual assault - including a single incident - may petition the court to obtain the order. Victims under 16 need a parent or guardian to petition on their behalf. A third party may also file on behalf of a vulnerable adult or any other adult who cannot file due to age, disability, health or inaccessibility.

The law defines "sexual assault" as:

  • Nonconsensual (meaning lack of freely given agreement) sexual touching of the genitals, anus or breasts - either directly or through clothing.
  • Nonconsensual sexual penetration, however slight, of the genitals or anus by another body part of another including the mouth or the use of objects.
  • Forced display of the genitals, anus or breasts for the purpose of sexually arousing another.

The sexual assault protection order is designed for victims who do not meet the "domestic relationship" requirement with the person who sexually assaulted them to qualify for a domestic violence protection order. If you are considering petitioning for a sexual assault protection order, you should meet with a sexual assault advocate or a lawyer to discuss the different available remedies and challenges with the various orders.

A Sexual Assault Protection Order may also be obtained as part of a criminal case. If a victim reports the sexual assault to law enforcement and the assailant is being prosecuted, a judge may order the perpetrator to keep the assailant away from the victim when they are released from custody.

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