Safe Nest’s Protection Order Safety Project

(12/03/2012)

Protection Orders are an essential tool for decreasing incidences of domestic violence. A 2008 study found that 64.8 percent of the women who receive a protection order remained violence free after a one year follow-up. (Cole, Jennifer “Women’s Risk for Revictimization by a New Abusive Partner: For What Should We Be Looking?” Violence and Victims. 2008 www.findarticles.com 02 Aug 2011.). Often victims of domestic violence who are seeking a Protective Order are accessing the justice system for the first time. As such, victims have little understanding of how to obtain an Emergency Temporary Protection Order (ETPO) or a Temporary Protection Order (TPO) and no knowledge of the application, hearing process and court procedures.

Safe Nest’s Protection Order Safety Project is the sole access point for victims seeking an ETPO. All ETPO applications for Clark County are processed via Safe Nest’s 24-hour hotline. When applying for ETPOs all victims receive assistance in developing strategies for staying safe (safety planning), crisis intervention if necessary, and referrals to other community support and resources.

Additionally, Safe Nest Advocates processes 85 percent of all TPOs at the Family Court TPO office. When applying for at TPO clients meet with a Safe Nest trained advocate or volunteer. All applicants receive safety planning and community referrals as necessary. Safe Nest processed 1,983 ETPOs over the hotline and 4,927 of the 5,781 TPOs at the Protection Order office in Family Court.

Without Safe Nest’s Protection Order Safety Project, almost 6,000 individuals would not have access to the needed protection orders. Given the research substantiating the correlation between protection orders and being abuse-free one year later, this project is an essential component to the safety net for victims of domestic violence.

Studies have also shown that victims of domestic violence who receive advocacy services while accessing the justice systems have lower levels of psychological and physical re-abuse and increased levels of perceived emotional and social support. (Bell, Goodman “Supporting Battered Women Involved with the Court System.” Violence Against Women, Vol. 7 No. 12, Dec. 2001). Emotional and social support are key resiliency factors to preventing the revictimization by new partners. (See Cole, Jennifer 2008). As such, intervening with women at this critical time is essential in reducing the rates of revictimization. (Ibid.) This project provides the essential court advocacy, in addition to the services associated with protection orders.

“At its best, advocacy for battered women in the justice system consists of four overlapping components: a) assistance in planning for safety, b) provision of emotional support, c) provision of information about and access to community resources, and d) provision of information about and accompaniment through the legal process.” (Bell, Goodman “Supporting Battered Women Involved with the Court System.” Violence Against Women, Vol. 7 No. 12, Dec. 2001).

The Protection Order Safety Project embodies the four elements of advocacy at its best by providing access to and assistance with processing Emergency Temporary Protection Orders (ETPO) and Temporary Protection Orders (TPO) and comprehensive advocacy and court accompaniment for Family Court Protection Order hearings, as well as safety planning and referrals to community resources.

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