Legal Advocacy

Legal Advocacy

DAP advocates are experts in the Hennepin County justice system, and are here to help. Our services are free and open to all survivors of domestic violence, and because DAP is an independent non-profit (non-governmental) agency, we aren’t beholden to anybody but the client.

Our Process

Every morning DAP advocates get the police reports of the domestic violence incidences from the night before, and then we set about contacting the victims. These phone calls are a good way for the advocate to share information about how the criminal justice system works, offer resources and referrals, and help the survivor do some initial safety planning. The police report is also the first in a series of events that leads to criminal prosecution, court appearances, and sentencing – but don’t worry! A DAP advocate will be there every step of the way. We also support our clients to obtain the protections and provisions offered in the civil court system, like protective orders.

Would you like to bone-up on your criminal justice system knowledge? Check out this helpful Flow Chart.


Protective Orders –  What are the options?

In Hennepin County there are three types of stay-away orders: an Order for Protection (OFP), a Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) and a Domestic Abuse No Contact Order (DANCO).


An Order for Protection is designed to protect individuals who have experienced domestic abuse at the hands of an intimate partner or a family member. Adults can also file on behalf of minor children. An OFP is an order requested by the petitioner and issued by the family court for one or more years to protect a victim of domestic violence. The order prevents the abuser from having contact with the victim. An OFP stipulates that the petitioner and the respondent have a relational history, and that domestic abuse—or the threat of abuse—had occurred. The judge has a great deal of discretion in deciding the terms of the order – for example, an order might disallow all contact, or allow only certain forms of contact. Violation of an OFP is a crime.


A Harassment Restraining Order is an order requested by the petitioner and issued by a civil court for two years to restrain a perpetrator of harassment. Unlike an OFP, an HRO does not require that the petitioner and respondent have a relationship (neighbors, co-workers, and even strangers can file HROs), but they provide similar levels of protection. Violation of an HRO is a crime.


A Domestic Abuse No Contact Order is an order requested by the prosecution and issued by a criminal court (with or without the initiative of the victim) as a pretrial order or as part of an offender’s terms of probation. Unlike an OFP or an HRO, the DANCO is not requested by the protected party (the victim). Violation of a DANCO is a crime.

 Click here for more court system terminology!


If you would like help or would like to learn more about advocacy, call us. 

Call Us

Downtown Advocacy Office ι 250 South 4th Street ι Room 201 ι Minneapolis, MN  55415 ι 612.673.3526
(collect calls accepted)

Northpoint Advocacy Office ι 1315 Penn Avenue North ι Minneapolis, MN  55411 ι 612.529.7477
(collect calls accepted)

Little Earth at the NELC Advocacy Office ι 2438 18th Avenue South ι Minneapolis, MN  55404 ι 612.728.5874
(collect calls accepted)