In the state of Kansas, judges can issue what is known as protection from abuse (PFA) orders. Commonly known as a restraining order or an order of protection, PFA orders are designed to protect against "abuse," which is defined under Kansas Statutes §60-3102 as the attempt to intentionally or recklessly cause bodily injury, cause another to have fear of imminent bodily injury, and/or engage in sexual activities with a minor under 16-years-of-age who is not the offender's spouse. There are also orders for protection from stalking, which falls under the state's Protection from Stalking Act.
Although the above are the three main types of PFA order, it is important to also consider what is known as a mutual order of protection. These are granted in cases where one side seeks a PFA and the other party submits a counter-petition stating that they too have been victimized by abuse. This can be granted after a hearing where both parties present evidence, but only if the judge believes that both parties were primary causes of the aggression instead of only acting out of self-defense. In some cases, a mutual PFA order can be obtained when both parties mutually agree to it without a hearing.
As explained above, the PFA order is designed to limit any further abuse. For example, a PFA order can restrict the alleged abuser from no longer abusing, molesting or interfering with the alleged victim and their child(ren). It can also order the alleged abuser to leave their home, not cancel any utility service, and give up the possession of the home to the victim. If this is not the order, the defendant may also be required to find the alleged victim alternate housing. In cases where children are involved, the PFA order can help to establish and enforce temporary arrangements of custody and visitation rights, as well as child and spousal support.
There are serious consequences for situations where the PFA order is violated. Per Kansas Statutes §60-3107, should the defendant violate the terms of the PFA order restraining him or her from the abuse, molestation or interference with the plaintiff, it could be considered assault or battery under the law. If the defendant was excluded from their residents or household, and they violate this term, it could be considered criminal trespass. Additionally, violations of the initial PFA order can result in an extension of the original order, up to a possible lifetime restriction. These are serious criminal charges which can carry harsh penalties, especially if they are charged in tandem with domestic violence.