Safety Planning

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As an offender's release date approaches, it may be necessary to determine safety plans and resources available for your protection. Contact your regional victim advocate for assistance and support in safety planning.

Safety planning is thinking and acting in a way that can increase your safety and the safety of your loved ones. You can do safety planning whether you stay in a relationship or if you are able to leave an abusive relationship.

In this section, learn more about:

Printable information about safety planning:

Protective Orders

A protective order is a legal order issued by a magistrate or a judge to protect the health and safety of an abused person and his/her family or household members.

Protective orders can provide you with legal protection, but they cannot necessarily protect you from violence. To help protect yourself from an act of violence, contact your regional victim advocate to help you figure out what you need to stay safe and to develop a plan.


To be eligible for a protective order, you must have been, within a reasonable period, subjected to an act involving violence, force, or threat that results in bodily injury or places you in reasonable fear of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury.

Where to Request a Protective Order

The type of relationship you have or had with the person who is harming or threatening you determines where you can request a protective order.

If that person is a family or household member, you can request a family abuse protective order through your local intake office in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court (J&DR Court). You can also request a protective order with the J&DR Court if either the petitioner or respondent is under the age of 18.

All other requests for protective orders that do not meet the definition of family or household member must go through the General District Court.

Printable guides from the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS):


The Virginia Attorney General's Office Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) is a confidential mail-forwarding service for domestic violence and/or stalking victims who have recently relocated to a location unknown to their abuser or stalker.

Learn more about and register for the ACP on the Virginia Attorney General’s website.

"No Contact" Directives

“No contact” means the offender cannot directly or indirectly contact you, as ordered by the court or other authorized body. Contact your regional victim advocate if you have any questions or want more information on how to obtain a “no contact” directive.

From the Court

During sentencing, a court can add a "no contact" condition. The court would determine if the action would be a basis for revocation of supervision or impact on suspended conviction time.

From the Virginia Parole Board

If the Virginia Parole Board (VPB) grants parole to an offender, they can place a "no contact" condition, enforced by the probation and parole officer. The VPB would then have the authority to respond to any violation of this condition, which can result in revocation of parole.

From the Virginia Department of Corrections

All offenders on supervision in the community can also have a “no contact” condition that says they must not have direct or indirect contact with victim(s) of their current or previous offense(s) without prior documented approval of the officer. This condition is not a court order preventing contact; it is a directive issued by the VADOC, which can be the basis for revocation of supervision if violated.

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