In North Carolina a domestic violence protective order (DVPO), also known as a restraining order, may be requested by someone to get an order of protection against a spouse, partner, lover, or former boyfriend or girlfriend.   With sufficient facts and evidence, protective orders are granted by courts. But what do you need to show in court, and what do you need to prove?  Those questions and more are answered below.

Proof of Domestic Violence

In North Carolina, domestic violence is defined as any act of violence, including physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, between individuals in a domestic or familial relationship. This includes acts of violence between spouses, former spouses, individuals who are dating or who have dated, individuals who are living together or who have lived together, and individuals who have a child in common.

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior by an intimate partner that includes physical and sexual abuse. Domestic violence also takes the form of threats, humiliation, isolating the victim from family members and the outside world, and withholding access to money and transportation.

In North Carolina  a domestic violence protective order prohibits contact between the perpetrator and victim. There are legal consequences, including jail, for violating the order.

To get a court to issue a restraining order, you need proof of domestic violence, stalking, or other abusive behaviors.   In general, examples of evidence that can be used to support a DVPO case include police reports, medical records, photographs or videos of injuries, witness statements, and the petitioner’s testimony.

It is important to note that each case is unique, and the evidence required may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Let’s go into more detail.

Police Reports and Police Witnesses

Police officers who respond to a domestic violence call must complete a report, and they can be valuable witnesses in the case.   Consider having them subpoenaed as they will not just come to court automatically for a civil case.

Emergency Temporary Protective Orders

If the judge grants you an “ex parte” emergency order, it takes effect immediately. Temporary protective orders generally expire in ten days, during which time the full hearing will be scheduled.   You must show up in court with your evidence and witnesses on the day scheduled for the DVPO hearing.

Photos & Videos

A photograph or video is worth 1000 words.  Use your phoen or camera to take photos of things like torn clothing, damaged furniture, bruises, and other injuries.   Print out color copies of the photos and bring them to court.

Medical Documentation Matters

Medical records are important.  If you saw a health care provider talk to your attrony about sending a subpoena for records.

Text Messages & Voicemails

Communications between the accused and the victim can be very telling.  Sometimes they include threats.   Make sure to print out copies and include teh dates of the exchanges.   Bring your phone to court.   Don’t delete any evidence.

Witnesses to the Abuse

Ask someone who witnessed the attack if they are willing to come to court to testify about what they saw and heard.   Consider having your attorney send subpoenas to witnesses.

DVPO Basics:


Most DVPOs order that the accused not contact you (or your children) and must stay away from where you live and work and any other place you are.

The judge may also include instructions for the abuser to vacate the family home and also award temporary custody.


Victims of domestic violence, including, for example, sexual assault or stalking, who do not have a spousal or dating relationship with the abuser should use Form 50-C (not form 50-B). Obtaining a civil no-contact order is similar in procedure to a 50-B DVPO.

Get Help from a Lawyer

Family law attorney Scott Allen has handled domestic violence cases for over twenty-eight years of experience. If you have questions or need assistance, call him at (919) 863-4183 or email