The Georgia Code 19-13-1 defines family violence as certain kinds of crimes between people who have certain relationships to each other. The kinds of crimes include battery, assault, stalking, criminal damage to property, unlawful restraint, criminal trespass and any felony. The people must be connected to each other as past or present spouses, parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren or other persons living or formerly living in the same household. If the crime is stalking, the people do not have to have any relationship or connection to each other.


A temporary protective order (TPO) is a court order to help protect you from someone who is abusing, threatening or harassing you. The order will require the abuser to stay away from you, your home and your work. The abuser will be prohibited from contacting you in any way.  The court can also order the abuser to stay away from your children if the court feels they are at risk.  The court can also order other kinds of relief in the TPO, such as temporary custody, support and possession of vehicles.

Getting a TPO does not mean the abuser goes to jail. The TPO makes it easier for the police to arrest the abuser for coming near you later, even if the abuser does not hurt you again.


There must be a recent threat or act of physical violence or stalking. The temporary protective order must be filed in the county where the abuser resides. If the abuser lives out of state, the TPO may be filed in the Georgia county were you live or where the violence occurred.

You will need to go to the Superior Clerk’s office and tell the clerk you want to file for a temporary protective order. They will give you the paperwork to complete. You must know the abuser’s name and current work and/or home address.

The clerk will then show your paperwork to a judge. You must be ready to tell the judge about the violence that has occurred. The judge will want to know if you believe the abuse will continue.

If the judge grants you a TPO, the sheriff’s office will serve the abuser with a copy of the order. A hearing will be held within 30 days so the judge can hear from both sides. You must attend the hearing or your order will expire (come to an end). 

At the hearing, the judge will decide if the TPO should be extended for up to 12 months. The court can also decide other issues such as temporary custody and support for your children or you and substance abuse treatment for your abuser.

If there is a new threat of violence or other good reason, you can go back to court before the TPO expires and ask that the order be extended or made permanent.

Family violence causes many complex problems – legal, physical, emotional and financial. TPOs can help with some of these problems, but not all. Contact your local family violence shelter or legal aid office for advice or help with family violence problems (see lists below or on the back of the flyer).


Association of Battered Women of Clayton County (Secur’us House)
( 770) 961-7233

Clayton County Superior Court
( 770) 477-3405


YWCA of Cobb County Battered Women’s Program
( 770) 427-3390

Cobb Family Resources
( 770) 428-2601


Women’s Resource Center
( 404) 688-9436

DeKalb Superior Court
( 404) 371-2836

DeKalb Family Law Information Center
( 404)687-3990


Partnership Against Domestic Violence
(404) 963-9799

Fulton Superior Court
( 404) 730-5344


Partnership Against Domestic Violence   
( 770) 806-8873

Gwinnett County Superior Court
( 770) 822-8100


National Hotline

Domestic Violence Statewide Referral Hotline 
1-800-334-2836 (connects you directly to the nearest shelter)


Catholic Social Services    
( 404) 881-6571

Atlanta Legal Aid Society Hispanic Outreach Project
( 404) 377-5381

St. Joseph’s Mercy Mobile
( 404) 880-3553

International Women’s House
( 404) 880-3553

SOURCE: Atlanta Legal Aid