Legal Protections

Please note that TAP does NOT provide legal advice; we are not lawyers. This information is not advice and is not comprehensive.

The Teen Alert Program is a department within the Domestic Violence Action Center (DVAC). If you have additional questions, please feel free to call DVAC's Legal Helpline at 808-531-3771. DVAC offers legal representation on a sliding fee scale for issues such as temporary restraining orders (TROs), divorce, and paternity.

You may choose to use the court system to help protect you from an abusive partner for various reasons:

 

Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)

A TRO is a temporary legal document that can help protect a person from abuse and/or harassment by someone else.  A TRO can prohibit an abuser from being around you (including your home, school, and work). It can also keep them from contacting you in any way, including through a third-party or electronically (texting/calling/Instagram/etc.).

If you are under the age of 18, your parent/legal guardian must file the TRO for you.

On O'ahu, a TRO against a dating partner is filed at Family Court in Kapolei.  Be prepared to share as many details as possible on the petition (such as dates of abuse, threats, description of abuse/property damage, medical/police reports, and whether the abuser owns weapons or has threatened you with one).

After filing your petition the judge will review it. If the judge approves the TRO, you’ll be given a court date. You can choose to represent yourself or hire an attorney to represent you.

For more info:

  • Learn about DVAC's legal services by calling our Helpline at 531-3771
  • Learn about how to get a TRO against a dating partner by contacting the Adult Client Services Branch of Family Court (ACSB) on your island (7:45 a.m. through 4:15 p.m. Monday through Friday) - except for holidays
    • O'ahu - (808) 538-5959
    • Maui - (808) 244-2706
    • Hawai'i - (808) 969-7798
    • Kaua'i - (808) 482-2330
  • Learn more about Family Court here
  • Learn more about filing a TRO against someone who is not a family member or dating partner here

Divorce/Custody

You may choose to use the Family Court system to:

  • File for paternity and/or custody over any children you have in common with your abusive partner
  • File for divorce

Learn more about Family Court here

Criminal Cases

You may choose to use the Criminal Court system to file a police report against your partner for any acts of violence such as abuse, assault, or threats (for example, if your partner says, “I’m going to kill you”). If charges are filed, you may have to be a witness and testify in court.

If an abusive partner damages your property and you wish to seek reimbursement for the damages, you can file a claim in Civil Court.

Learn more about the different court systems in Hawai’i here


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