"Out of Order"- Part 1

By: Tamara Evans
By: Tamara Evans

For victims trying to get out of a domestic violence relationship, there are ways to get help.

If violence occurs victims can get out and go to a neighbor or friends, call the police, go to the hospital emergency room, or call an advocate program such as the Barren River Area Safe Space.

You can also get an Emergency Protective Order or a Domestic Violence Order.

These are court orders that are designed to keep victims safe. They are meant to ensure that the abuser stays away.

Many victims claim these orders simply don't work.

"Emily" was the victim of domestic violence for four of those years.

Like many other victims of domestic violence "Emily" was having trouble getting out of the relationship.

"I was threatened constantly that if I left and he couldn't have me, then nobody else would. That I would never have any peace", says "Emily".

"Emily" finally got out of this relationship when her husband was gone from home for four days. She immediately sought help.

"I left when he was gone so there was no actual physical abuse that had occurred at the time that I got the EPO. It was hard to obtain the Emergency Protective Order because of that", says "Emily".

Warren County Commonwealth Attorney Chris Cohron sees domestic violence relationships in the courtroom often.

"It is an ongoing situation. We are never at a shortage of them. The number if anything is increasing rather than decreasing", says Cohron.

Cohron says unlike "Emily's" situation, getting an EPO against the perpetrator isn't hard.

"It can be done without a hearing. If the judge finds that there's a basis for the EPO they can be issued in the middle of the night", says Cohron.

That order is then put into place for 14 days until there can be a hearing in front of a judge who determines whether a domestic violence order, or DVO, should be put in place along with the conditions of it.

"The length of the DVO and the conditions on that as far as if they can have any contact. Obviously it is mainly used to make sure no further acts of domestic violence can occur", says Cohron.

The time span on the DVO can last up to three years and can be renewed. During this time if the abuser breaks the domestic violence order Cohron says there will be a price to pay.

"If they cannot comport their behavior to the standards set by the prosecutors in court these people are gonna spend long terms in jail", says Cohron.

"Emily" says this didn't happen in her case.

"If they are found in contempt of court, which basically means you can prove they violated their order, then basically they will either get days suspended some or serve time in jail, however with my experience, this man has yet to spend even a day in jail", says "Emily".

"Emily" isn't the only one whose abuser seems to have slipped through the system.

Many of these abusive situations result in tragedy.

Just two weeks ago three people were killed in Caneyville by a man who's wife had issued a DVO against him. Kentucky State Police say Wendell Bratcher had been ordered to stay away from his wife. He ended up killing three of her family members.

Coming up tomorrow night in "Out of Order" we'll take a closer look at whether or not these orders are actually keeping victims safe.

If you are a victim of domestic violence and want to get help you can call the Barren River Area Safe Space at 1-800-928-1183.


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