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What you need to know about protective orders in Bexar County: KSAT Explains

SAN ANTONIO – It’s a pervasive drawback. And in Bexar County and Texas, the numbers present domestic violence is an increasingly deadly problem.

But each single day, there are individuals working to assist save lives and get survivors out of their abusive relationships. One of the instruments at their disposal is protective orders. But when it comes to what protective orders are and what they really do, there’s typically confusion.

In this episode of KSAT Explains, we’re breaking down what you need to know about protective orders, in addition to listening to from two home violence survivors about their experiences and the way they received out.

(Watch the total episode on-demand in the video participant above.)

SMART. IN-DEPTH. LOCAL: Click right here for extra episodes of KSAT Explains

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Stories of survival: Meet two ladies who received out of their home violence conditions

For this episode, we talked to two courageous ladies who survived their abusive relationships and at the moment are on the opposite aspect. Elizabeth Rejino, and one other survivor who requested that we conceal her id, are two very totally different individuals with very totally different experiences. But they each escaped their abusers, thanks in half to having the ability to efficiently apply for protective orders.

Click the video participant under to hear their tales.

Just a chunk of paper?: Protective orders and the Bexar County Family Justice Center

The Bexar County Family Justice Center is considered one of a number of native companies that helps victims of violence.

“What’s fantastic about it is you’re bringing all these different agencies and disciplines, professionals to one location under one roof to be able to provide those services to survivors. So survivors don’t have to go all over town trying to connect the dots for the services they need,” stated Crystal Chandler, the chief director of the Bexar County Family Justice Center. “The center acts to connect those dots for them, whatever their particular need is, whether it be with our onsite providers or our community partners that are off site and doing warm referrals.”

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The Bexar County Family Justice Center is housed on the second flooring of the Archives Building on East Nueva St. (Copyright 2021 by KSAT – All rights reserved.)

The heart gives grownup counseling, baby remedy, clothes, authorized assist, monetary literacy programs and different resources.

The heart additionally homes the Protective Order Unit, which incorporates sufferer advocates, paralegals, prosecutors and an investigator to assist victims by the method of acquiring a protective order.

A protective order is often confused with a restraining order. Restraining orders are used in civil lawsuits. They can be utilized to shield an individual or property. If an abuser violates a protective order, the implications could be extreme. They could be arrested or charged with a criminal offense.

“Some people say that protective orders are just a piece of paper and, I guess, in a way they are, but how they empower a victim, a survivor and their children is priceless,” Chandler stated.

Most of the middle’s referrals come from regulation enforcement or an out of doors company.

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“Nine times out of 10 with law enforcement, they’re being referred to us to get a protective order to remove either the abuser from the situation or get the victim and the children out of this situation,” stated Nathan Hanson, a criminal offense sufferer liaison.

The Family Justice Center doesn’t grant protective orders. There is a course of that the middle will stroll victims by earlier than a district court docket decide can log off on an order. (Copyright 2021 by KSAT – All rights reserved.)

The Family Justice Center doesn’t grant protective orders. There is a course of that the middle will stroll victims by earlier than a district court docket decide can log off on an order. Advocates and employees will discuss with victims to discover out what the perfect plan of motion is for every sufferer. A protective order might not be for each particular person.

“Maybe the client just wants counseling. Maybe they’re not ready to leave their abuser because that’s all they’ve known,” Hanson stated.

A sufferer can fill out an intake form online if they want to search a protective order. They may name the middle at 210-631-0100 and employees will assist them fill out the shape over the telephone.

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Once the shape is accomplished, a criminal offense sufferer liaison will contact the sufferer to collect extra data.

“Within 24 hours, a member of the staff is reaching back out to them, making contact and following up on their interview,” stated Jordan Cadenhead, a felony prosecutor.

The sufferer should additionally fill out a danger assessment, which can present the middle with a rating to decide the extent of threat for every applicant.

“During the danger assessment, it’s measuring the lethality score. How serious of an incident it is. How likely is it that the abuser has the ability to kill our victims,” Hanson stated

If a sufferer signifies {that a} weapon was used throughout their abuse or that they have been strangled, that might point out their case wants to be positioned on a high-risk listing. The employees will transfer shortly to file a short lived protective order.

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“We’re talking three days. That’s how quickly they move through applying for a protective order to having a temporary protective order that’s effective and in full force and effect. And that’s a conservative number. Most of the time, it’s done within 24 hours,” Cadenhead stated.

A low rating on the evaluation doesn’t essentially imply the sufferer is not going to get positioned on the high-risk listing. Cadenhead stated the employees might discover purple flags that the evaluation wasn’t in a position to seize.

During the method, a sufferer may also work with an advocate who will help with proof for his or her case.

The Bexar County District Attorney’s Office listing the next gadgets that may bolster protective order purposes:

  • A police report or a police report case quantity.

  • If a police report has not been made, the Family Justice Center can supply steerage.

  • Photo(s) of accidents.

  • Copies of digital communications between the sufferer and abuser (e-mails, social media chats).

  • Letter(s) obtained from the abuser.

  • Video and audio recording(s) from the abuser.

  • A present deal with for the abuser.

  • Valid state identification doc.

Once a decide opinions an application and decides to grant a short lived protective order, the sufferer will likely be issued a date for a everlasting protective order listening to. The abuser is then served with a discover of the listening to and any orders accredited by the decide.

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Serving the protective order is Yvette Martinez’s job. She’s an investigator with the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney’s Office. She instructed us that the job of monitoring down the abuser is typically a difficult one.

“I use a lot of law enforcement tools, and I run people through to find where they live, where they work,” she stated. “It’s basically all hours of the day and night.”

The employees on the heart perceive that this course of could be arduous. They perceive that protective orders are usually not bulletproof vests. Some of them have lost shoppers.

“I specifically remember … one of the clients that had just been through our office, left our office and she was murdered outside of our office,” stated Irma Alvarez, the middle’s Protective Order Supervisor. “We felt horrible. There [are] no words to say.”

Combating home violence

It could also be inconceivable to finish home violence. There aren’t any clear-cut, straightforward options, but it surely’s necessary not to flip away from the issue. Because combating home violence requires consciousness and compassion.

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According to the Texas Council on Family Violence, 228 Texans died due to home violence final year – a 23 p.c enhance from 2019. In Bexar County, 17 individuals died due to home violence in 2020, in contrast to 13 in 2019.

(Copyright 2021 by KSAT – All rights reserved.)

Knowing how to spot purple flags is vital to prevention. Here are just a few, courtesy of the National Domestic Violence Hotline:

  • Embarrassing or placing you down

  • Controlling who you see, the place you go, or what you do

  • Keeping you or discouraging you from seeing your folks or household

  • Preventing you from making your personal selections

  • Preventing you from working or attending college

  • Blaming you for the abuse, or appearing prefer it’s not likely taking place

  • Destroying your property or threatening to harm or kill your pets

  • Threatening to commit suicide due to one thing you’ve accomplished

If you know somebody in a home violence state of affairs, compassion and endurance can go a great distance. The specialists we talked to stated a worry of being judged and never being believed are a few of the elements that cease victims from reaching out for assist.

But reaching out is step one.

Now that the unidentified survivor we spoke to is now not dwelling together with her abuser, she’s in a position to get pleasure from a few of the easy issues that many others would possibly take with no consideration.

“I’m able to sleep. I am able to buy myself the basic necessities,” she stated. “I’m furthering my education.”

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Rejino instructed us there are lovely issues on the opposite aspect of this battle.

“So don’t give up,” she stated. “I’ve seen people give up and they end up right back in the same position.”

Domestic violence resources if you or somebody you know wants assist:

Copyright 2021 by KSAT – All rights reserved.

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