28 Jun 2012

Family Justice Center Assists in Protection Order Process: S.T.O.P. in Action in Idaho

This week, a S.T.O.P. funded Civil Protection Order Project in Idaho assists petitioners with the petition process:

Idaho Falls, Idaho.  The Bonneville County Family Justice Center (FJC) utilized their STOP funds to assist over 1000 individuals with their Civil Protection Order Project.  When the Center initially began their project, less than 19% of Civil Protection Order petitioners received any type of assistance with the petition process.  STOP funding has enabled the Center to provide assistance to at least 95% of this population in the petition process.  The FJC also provides information on resources after the order is granted or denied.  

One of the cases that catalyzed the formation of the project involved a woman, Sheila*.  Sheila applied for a Civil Protection Order and was denied because she did not disclose that she had been sexually abused.   Sheila was visibly upset and courthouse staff referred her to the FJC.  Once she met with a Center advocate, the advocate understood that Sheila’s husband had raped her.  At the time of her initial petition for the order, no one was available to provide assistance with the paperwork and no one available to ask her why she felt she needed the order.  Once the advocate understood Sheila’s experience, the advocate encouraged Sheila to disclose the sexual abuse and guided her through the process.  Sheila’s protection order was subsequently granted by the court. 

The FJC understands that the Courts and their staff cannot advocate on behalf of victims of domestic violence or sexual assault.  Fortunately the 7th Judicial District and the local community wanted to ensure that victims are not re-victimized and are provided with advocacy and the best service possible for those individuals.

View the S.T.O.P. in Action film to take a deeper look at the promising S.T.O.P. funded work. For more information on ALSO’s S.T.O.P.Technical Assistance to Administrators Resource (STAAR) Project, click here. Make sure to check back next week to see if your state is featured or follow us on twitter for these and other updates.