Court Accompaniment

“I filed for an order of protection through Family Court because my husband (from whom I am separated) threatened to kill me again. I received support services from Willow at Family Court. When I went to see the judge, one of the staff came in with me. Everyone I have encountered here has been very supportive and encouraging to me. I don’t know what I would have done without their help.” – Survivor

Order of Protection Guide

You are not alone

We are here to support you on your journey to safety.

Willow Center Court Advocates are onsite at Monroe County Family Court, in a separate and secure waiting room, to assist you in obtaining an Order of Protection.

Full details of our Court Accompaniment Program can be found in the Order of Protection Guide

Willow assists more than 2,000 individuals at Family Court per year.

“My sister has recently been assisted by your Willow staff in court. I just wanted to thank you for your vital presence. It is an overwhelming experience and having your people there to assist and educate is a must for women going through these ordeals.” – Family member

Family Court

Monroe County Hall of Justice, Room 358 (3rd Floor)
99 Exchange Boulevard (near Court Street)
Downtown Rochester, NY (map)
Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Family Court Website
Willow Court Advocacy Program Contact: (585) 371-3535
Willow’s Secure Family Court Waiting Area is on the 3rd floor.

What Can I Expect at Court?

Highly trained professionals and volunteer advocates explain the process, discuss expectations, and accompany survivors in court to petition for an Order of Protection.

Advocates stay with survivors and provide support during their testimony. Court Advocates also help survivors develop safety plans for their unique situations, and provide referrals to community services.

Willow Center collaborates with the Legal Aid Society of Rochester, which provides free legal services to those who qualify

We Have Answers

Willow Center Court Advocates can answer the important questions you have.

  • How will an Order of Protection keep me safe?
  • What do I do if my abuser violates the order?
  • What can I say to my kids about what is going on?
  • How do I deal with visitation when there is an Order of Protection?
  • What is an Order of Protection? How do I serve an Order of Protection?

The process of requesting a Family Court Order of Protection can often take a few hours so it is recommended that petitioners arrive at either 8:30 or 1:30. The petitioner does not need an appointment to file for an Order of Protection, but they will be asked for a photo ID.

In addition to filing for a Family Court Order of Protection, a survivor has the right to contact the police in order to report the crime, pursue criminal charges, or request a criminal Order of Protection.

Tips When Coming to Court

  • Come early if you can – probation opens at 8:30am, court opens at 9am, and the process is first come, first served
  • Childcare with qualified providers is free and available on the third floor
  • If you can, bring a support person, friend or family member to support you through the process
  • If you come by yourself, remember, you are never alone. Willow Advocates are here to support you.
  • Court is closed from 12:30pm-1:30pm. The Willow Center waiting room will remain open during this time. Childcare will be closed during the lunch break.

Order of Protection

“I never thought I would ever need the protection and support from the Police Department or court system. However, the violence that my children and I were victims of reached dangerous levels.”

What is an order of protection?

It is an order issued by a court to limit the behavior of someone who harms or threatens to harm another person. You do not need a police report in order to file for an order of protection.

What does an order do?

The order may direct the offending person not to injure, threaten or harass you or any other person(s) listed in the order. It may include, but not be limited to, directing the named individual to:

  • stay away from you
  • stay away from your children
  • stay away from your home, place of employment, school, etc.
  • not communicate with you by any means, including a third person
  • refrain from abusive or threatening behavior
  • move out of your home
  • grant temporary physical residency of minor children
  • not have a gun

What NY courts can issue an order of protection?

Family Courts an order can be obtained to address violence within a family or within an intimate relationship, and provide protection. You can file against someone who is abusive in this court if:

  • you are related by blood or marriage;
  • you are or were legally married;
  • you have a child in common; or
  • you are or were in an intimate relationship (not casual, social, or business acquaintances).

Criminal Courts an order may be a condition of a criminal defendant’s release and/or bail. You can start criminal proceedings and a criminal order by contacting the police. The criteria for filing in Criminal Court are not the same as for filing in Family Court, and you do not need a familial relationship.

Supreme Courts an order may be issued as part of a divorce proceeding.

How do I file for an Order of Protection?

To start a proceeding in Monroe County Family Court, you must file a petition at the Hall of Justice, 99 Exchange Boulevard, Room 301A (Probation Intake).

Willow Center Advocates will help you through the process by providing support, court accompaniment, and safety planning. The process may take a while, so the best times to arrive are either 8:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m.

Call the Willow Court Team at (585) 371-3535 if you have questions or want to discussion your options.

What if someone violates an order of protection?

It is a crime to violate a temporary or final order of protection. The individual does not have to hit you to violate the order. If the subject does not obey the order, then you can call the police to press charges or choose to go to Family Court to file a violation, or both.

All services are free of charge and confidential.