In a D.C. Civil Protective Order (CPO) case, the petitioner needs to prove that he or she was a victim of an intrafamily offense or act of violence. Under § 16-1001(9) of the D.C. Code, “intrafamily violence” is “an act punishable as a criminal offense committed by an offender upon a person to whom the offender is related by blood, legal custody, marriage, having a child in common, or with whom the offender shares or has shared a mutual residence; or with whom the offender maintains or maintained a romantic relationship not necessarily including a sexual relationship.”
It is important to note that under this definition, an intrafamily offense must necessarily be a physical assault or battery, or something that can be prosecuted as a crime, like stalking. This means that yelling or cursing at a child, family member, or spouse/partner, even if done repeatedly over a long period of time, probably will not by itself be enough for a judge to issue a CPO.
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