Can You Get a Restraining Order on a Parent?

From a recent Avvo post:

I am 17, and when I attain 18, I will be moving out of my home. I wish to get a restraining order on my father, because I am afraid of what he will do. He is very controlling and I fear he will do something to me and the people who are involved in helping me leave…. I know I am just a kid and this is huge, but my dad used to abuse me and take things too far. I am just trying to protect my future and those around me from what he may do.

As I explained to this young person, control is not enough. It would have to be fear from harm. If past abuse makes this person fearful, that might work:

From 209A S. 1: “Abuse,” the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between family or household members:
(a) attempting to cause or causing physical harm;
(b) placing another in fear of imminent serious physical harm;
(c) causing another to engage involuntarily in sexual relations by force, threat or duress.

That said, this young person does have other options. He or she could call the Department of Children and Youth Services (DCYS) to report the child abuse personally (although this is not recommended).

If the young person talks to a “mandated reporter” (i.e., school counselor, therapist, teacher) and that individual believes that the 17-year-old could be exposed to harm, then he or she should make the call to DCYS. Trying to involve other family members might also work.