Attorney General Abbott Applauds Protective Order Kit For Domestic Violence Victims
AUSTIN Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today joined First Lady Anita Perry, Texas Supreme Court Justice Harriet O’Neill and the Texas Equal Access to Justice Foundation in unveiling a new kit that will enable victims of domestic violence to better access the court system by filing their own applications for protective orders.
The self-help protective order kit, created by a Texas Supreme Court task force, was announced today as part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, which is observed April 10-16. The kit will make it possible for victims to better access the legal system so they can protect themselves and their children, including compelling the abuser to leave the home, if necessary.
"Domestic violence has reached alarming levels in Texas, and often victims are too frightened or too financially strapped to get the help they need, Attorney General Abbott said. This kit addresses both of those problems by empowering victims to file their own court papers and get out of danger as quickly as possible.
The free, step-by-step protective order kit comes with detailed instructions for filling out the paperwork, having a temporary order signed by a judge and requesting a hearing date to grant the protective order. The kit also provides tips for victims on how to prepare for the hearing.
The protective order kit can be accessed at the Attorney General’s Web site (www.texasattorneygeneral.gov). Materials will also be available through law enforcement agencies, domestic violence shelters and hospital emergency rooms.
At a news conference to announce the kits, Attorney General Abbott and the other participants were joined by Thomasina Olaniyi-Oke, a survivor of domestic violence. Her husband physically abused her often during their 13-year marriage. Ms. Olaniyi-Oke obtained a temporary protective order against her husband, but after the order expired he started harassing her again.
I was so frustrated after the temporary order lapsed, she said. I didn’t know what to do.
Finally, with the help of Legal Aid services Ms. Olaniyi-Oke was able to obtain a permanent protective order against her husband. She said if the protective order kit had been available when she was being abused, she would have used it.
If I had had more information, I would have filed for a permanent protective order myself, she said.
The Attorney General’s Crime Victim Services Division serves victims of crime by administering the Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund and related grants, as well as offering training and outreach programs. Last year, the Attorney General provided almost $73 million from the Fund to help many of these victims shoulder medical and other expenses related to the crimes committed against them.
The Attorney General also provides $2.5 million annually to the Texas Equal Access to Justice Foundation to help provide civil legal aid to victims of crime.
More than 185,000 incidents of domestic violence were reported in Texas in 2003.
More information about the Attorney General’s Crime Victim Services Division is available at the Attorney General’s Web site: www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.