In the UK, restraining orders can only be issued during criminal proceedings. In order to get a restraining order against someone, you must:
- report them to the police, and
- then take them to court
Any person convicted or acquitted of a criminal offence can be subject to a restraining order. This means that such orders can be imposed even if the defendant is found not guilty by the judge. Indeed, restraining orders are preventive and protective measures, so they can be granted as long as the court considers that the victim needs specific protection.
Restraining orders are commonly imposed in domestic violence situations, to protect victims from abusive partners.
For example, restraining orders can be directed towards:
- someone you are or have been in an intimate relationship with
- a family member, or
- someone you’re living or have lived with
An application for a restraining order needs to be made against a ‘known person’. This means that a restraining order cannot be made against someone who is making anonymous harassing phone calls.