If you have been victimized by domestic violence, you may seek ways to cut yourself off from your abuser. You could decide that simply leaving the home and the relationship is not enough. You want a no-contact order so that they cannot be around you at all. While this order is just a piece of paper, what it means is that they could get arrested for coming to your house — even if they don’t touch you — and that can act as a strong deterrent.

One important thing to note is that a no-contact order does not just mean no contact in person. It doesn’t just mean they can’t come to your home or your job or that they can’t call you. It also means they cannot send you text messages, send digital messages on social media or use other apps and web platforms to get in touch with you.

The order means just what it says: No contact. None at all.

It also means no giving gifts. Many abusers, when the victim finally takes a stand and moves out, will try to win them back by apologizing, giving gifts and swearing that it will never happen again. If they order something online and send it to your house, that can still count as a form of contact. They’re not allowed to do it. They can argue that they never came within a mile of you and didn’t give it to you in person, but they’ve still broken the law by contacting you in any way.

All victims of domestic violence need to know what legal options they have to protect themselves and their families.