Restraining orders

This is part of our information section on understanding your criminal record. Details of other sentences/disposals can be found here.


Who is it issued by and how can I contact them?

Issued by the court – contact the administering court.

Does it involve guilt?

Not necessarily. Since September 2009 any person convicted of any criminal offence can be made subject to a restraining order.

Is it recorded on the Police National Computer (PNC)?


Is it classed as a conviction?


How long will it be on my record?

It will remain on the PNC indefinitely and can still be mentioned in future criminal proceedings even after it has become spent.

When does it become spent?

After the length of the order.

When do I have to declare it?

You do not have to declare it after it is spent except for an occupation exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, i.e. working with children. Before it is spent, you will need to declare it, when asked, to employers, insurance companies and others.

Is it disclosed on DBS checks?

Yes, it will be disclosed on both standard and enhanced checks unless it is eligible for filtering.

Once spent, it will not be disclosed on a basic check.

What guidance is there on fair process?

There is CPS Guidance on restraining orders.

Do I have the right to appeal and what is the process?

GOV.UK information on appealing a Court decision can be found here.

What are the implications for life in the community?

Restraining orders are usually given in cases where:-

  • a defendant and witness are known to each other (i.e. domestic violence cases) or
  • where there is ongoing contact (i.e. the victim runs a local business)

The terms of a restraining order can differ depending on the nature of the offence committed. Sometimes a person will be restrained from approaching the house or place of work of the victim. They may be prohibited from contacting the victim whether in person or by electronic means.

Apart from the obvious need to stay away from and have no contact with the protected party, a restraining order can have other consequences. For example, you may be required to leave your home if you live with the person who receives the Order and visiting your children may become difficult. Any contact could potentially put you in breach of the order and could result in a prison sentence or fine.

Frequently asked questions

If Court proceedings are dismissed following the prosecutions decision to offer no evidence, this is regarded as an aquittal. Should it be felt that a victim still requires some form of protection, a restraining order post-acquittal may be given.

Restraining orders post-acquittal become spent immediately under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. It would not be disclosed on basic or standard criminal record checks but may be disclosed under Police Intelligence on an enhanced check, if it is deemed relevant.

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