Allen County residents who file protective orders will soon have some help.
Allen Superior Court is hiring a Protection Order Specialist. The newly created position, approved in March by Allen County Council, was created to assist in the filing of protection order requests.
The need is there.
According to a news release from Allen Superior Court, more than 3,500 protective orders are filed in each year in Allen County, whether due to domestic or family violence, a sex offense or stalking. The orders are filed by residents who say that they or their children are in danger of being harmed by someone in their life.
Currently, the orders are filed without the help of an attorney, and the process is a lengthy and detailed one. Often, documents are incomplete when they are filed, which causes delays to the hearing process, the court said.
“I think helping those victims understand why all this information is needed and we can’t just rush through these forms, we need to try and get as much as we can before you walk into a court room and see a magistrate, it helps them feel more comfortable and prepared,” says Hon. Jennifer DeGroote, Allen Superior judge.
The Protection Order Specialist should help. The position will provide technical assistance for those filling out the complex application and also serve as a conduit between petitioner and other community services.
“Deciding to leave an abusive or violent situation is traumatic enough,” said Judge Craig J. Bobay, Administrative Judge of the Allen Superior Court Civil Division. “Many victims are abused again and again before they make that choice. We are working to fundamentally redesign the protection order system to make sure the system itself is not an obstacle to individuals trying to help themselves.”
“Statistics will tell you that’s one of the most dangerous times for them, is when they break away from the abuser. So, these people are coming to court, like I said, already overwhelmed, scared, and then if there’s a process that’s just, they’re having to face it, and they’re getting confused by the paper work, it just doesn’t make that situation any better for them. I mean, we can’t take away what’s happened, but we can try to help them get through the process, without feeling like it’s an additional barrier,” says Hon. Jennifer DeGroote.
The Protection Order Specialist will be based in the Small Claims Court filed in Superior Court’s Civil Division, at 1 W. Superior Street, and will be the first point of contact for those seeking an order of protection. The position will be funded without an increase in the court’s 2019 budget.
Those interested in applying for the Protection Order Specialist position online can visit www.allencountyjobs.us.