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Monday, March 31, 2014 ~ Today I am still working on creating a Policy Brief for Delaware Coalition Against Domestic

Violence (DCADV). Continuing research I will be including information on the Protection From Abuse (PFA) process. This has been an educational process for me as well. I have discovered that a PFA is an order of protection issued by Family Court ordering someone to stop abusing another person, and may include other relief, such as ordering the abuser to stay away from the person being abused. I decided to do a brief survey at my day job regarding PFAs. I was very surprised to discover that many of my colleagues are unaware that PSAs are NOT limited to spouses. Protection From Abuse also includes ex-spouses, family members, persons of the opposite sex who lived together when the abuse occurred, unmarried persons who have children together, and persons who are or were involved in a substantive dating relationship may file for an Order of Protection From Abuse. It is important for people to understand that abuse is defined as threatening or harmful conduct including serious emotional harm. I took this opportunity to pull staff members together to explain that a petitioner does not need an attorney to seek an Order of Protection From Abuse. Court staff will help people fill out the necessary forms during court operating hours and volunteers from the Victim Advocate Program may also be available to help. To file, go to the Family Court between the hours of 8:30 am and 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. If a victim believes that he or she is in immediate danger of abuse, they may ask for an emergency ex parte hearing that same day. Ex parte is defined as made or undertaken on behalf of only one of the parties involved in a court case. Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another. It is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background. It is unbelievable to me that approximately 20% of the 1.5 million people who experience intimate partner violence annually obtain civil protection orders. Additionally, approximately one-half of the protection orders obtained by women against intimate partners who physically assaulted them were violated. More than two-thirds of the protection orders against intimate partners who raped or stalked the victim were violated. WOW!!! This was a great learning experience for all. Usually when I think about any judicial process I automatically move to the feeling of the system as being sluggish and antiquated. Yes, the process needs some fine tuning but there is a process nonetheless. This was an eye opening experience and a great teaching moment for me and my colleagues. Its great when my Wilmu experience filters in to the workplace. But I am embarrassed that I was not fully aware of this process. This now allows me to better serve clients/victims.