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From the Bench: orders of protection


Domestic Relationships Are Complicated—


From the Bench

Orders of Protection have little protection.
She had an Order of Protection against the man who killed her.

HIS PASTT week, we read about an Avondale woman that was murdered in the school parking lot. She had an Order of Protection against the man that killed her. I have issued more than 1,000 Orders of Protection in my 20 years in the justice courts and I have made it a practice to hold the order over my chest before I hand it to the person and tell them this paper is no protection, knives and bullets go right through the paper; it does not even slow the bullet down.

This order will make it easier for the police to arrest someone, but there is little protection in this piece of paper. This order may make your situation more dangerous; I have seen men get very angry over being served an Order of Protection and they become more violent.

I tell people: think about real protection. Just how will the other person react? Will that person really be deterred by a piece of paper? Will he care that violating the order will add another lesser charge to the crime of assault or murder?

If you are in an abusive relationship, the best protection is distance between you and the abuser. If you can’t do that, make a plan. Change the locks on your doors, have a bedroom with a locked door that you can retreat to. Have a phone in that back bedroom. Tell your neighbor to call the police if they hear something. Have some money hidden away.

There are many things you can do, but you must plan. Do not be fooled by a promise not to abuse you again; demand he get some help, make him demonstrate he has changed. Do not just take a promise.

Abusers are repeat offenders; they will say they are sorry, they love you and go right back to their old abusing ways. The best protection is a plan to end the relationship if he repeats the abuse. Never forget: If you have children with someone that has an anger problem, you will more than likely have children with anger problems,

Lesson: Orders of protection are not really a lot of protection.

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