The Sheriff’s Office formed a Domestic Violence Unit in October, 2000 to serve protective orders and peace orders. These orders are Maryland’s equivalent to a restraining order. These two types of orders differ slightly in respect to who may apply for each, and the extent and relief available. Generally, any citizen who has been a recent victim of domestic violence or is otherwise in fear for his/her safety may petition the court to issue an order ordering the alleged aggressor to refrain from contact. Parties eligible for protective orders are those who are a vulnerable adult, or where the relationship with the alleged aggressor is that of a current or former spouse, the parties reside together or are related by blood or adoption, or have a child in common. All other parties are eligible to apply for a peace order. A petition for a protective order may be made at the Civil Department of any court in the state. There is no application or service fee associated with a protective order. A peace order may only be applied for at the Civil Department in any Maryland District Court. The court charges a $20 application fee and the Sheriff’s Office a $40 service fee. Cumulatively, 3000 or so protective orders and peace orders are issued annually in Anne Arundel County. Interim protective orders may be issued by any district court commissioner seven days a week when the district court is closed.