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Florida Media Questions Legal System’s Ability to Vindicate Domestic Violence Victims

Legal process and legislation surrounding the protection of domestic violence victims and the prosecution of perpetrators’ crimes have been a hot-button issue for some time. National attention to the issue has increased over the last several years as victims, advocates, and members of the criminal justice and legal community have stepped forward to argue for better procedures for dealing with domestic violence issues. One thing is clear: domestic violence is considerably underreported, and one of the problems is the court process domestic violence victims face.

The Florida Sun Sentinel recently addressed this issue in their June 27, 2015 article entitled “Legal System Fails Domestic Violence Victims.” The article is simply the latest of the media’s criticisms of the legal system’s approach to domestic violence. In it, author Mike Ryan raises several issues related to domestic violence and discusses the committee of the Broward County Chiefs of Police Association recently assembled to reexamine the court process for domestic violence claims.

The Sentinel reports that the committee agreed that more needs to be done for victims overall, and that concrete improvements could be made through technological updates to the court process. As an example, the article cites the requirement that victims of domestic violence must go to the courthouse in person, sometimes via lengthy public transit trips or with multiple children in tow, simply to receive an order of protection, frequently waiting hours where an e-filing system could easily complete that process instead.

The committee recommended that orders of protection (and thereby the court process) be made simpler for victims of domestic violence by implementing e-filing systems and electronic resources. Broward County has begun putting into place these recommendations with some early signs of success, and is looking forward to pursuing other improvements to the domestic violence criminal justice process as well.

The news comes as a positive note and update to the Sun Sentinel’s news article from earlier last week in which Brian Ballou reported the committee’s assembly and some of the committee’s other goals, including instituting electronic signatures for injunctions, increasing the locations available at which victims of domestic violence can obtain orders of protection, and decreasing the amount of time required for victims to acquire protective orders.

Getting Help

Domestic violence is an ingrained problem in contemporary society that continues to be underreported and under-prosecuted. If you or someone you care about has experienced domestic violence, the first step should be securing the victim’s safety. But after that, victims of domestic violence should know that legal avenues for relief exist, and the help of an experienced family attorney can ease the stress and difficulty of the process. Consider discussing your options by seeking legal assistance. Contact an experienced Florida family attorney at Schwartz | White at 561-391-9943 today for a consultation.

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