e-EPOs to speed up the process of protection - WDRB 41 Louisville News

e-EPOs to speed up the process of protection

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Jefferson County, Ky., is now the first in the country to launch a new system aimed at protecting domestic violence victims: electronic emergency protective orders.

Today officials at Metro Hall announced the system is definitely speeding up the process of getting protection to the people who need it most.

As Congressman John Yarmuth stated Monday afternoon, one in three Kentucky women will be the victim of domestic violence in her lifetime.

One of those victims, is "AJ." She's a woman we spoke to last month. We changed her name to protect her identity.

"I didn't feel safe to go anywhere because I knew the fact that he was out there," AJ told us.

But as victims like "AJ" celebrate surviving - during October's Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Jefferson County Officials are celebrating a new way of protecting them.

Family Court Judge Stephen George says the new electronic emergency protective orders put Jefferson County ahead of everyone else in the country when it comes to fighting domestic violence.

"We are the first in the country to make this e-EPO process electronic," said Judge George. "Twenty years ago...family court started as a pilot project in Kentucky and we started it here in Louisville and we are proud of the fact that we are still leading."

The program was launched August 22, with a $170,000 federal grant. It cuts out paperwork allowing EPO's to be issued in a matter of hours instead of days. Judges receive orders instantly via computer, unlike the old hand delivery system. Officials announced Monday morning e-EPO's cut the process from days or weeks to as little as 30 minutes.

"More than 400 emergency protective orders have been issued, helping to provide safety and peace of mind to the victims, their children and other family members," said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.

Supporters of the program admit it's not the solution to the domestic violence epidemic, but it's a step forward in the fight to save lives.

"EPO's and DVO's are one part of the plan, one crucial part of the plan which often includes informing friends, family members, neighbors, co-workers and having an escape route," said Marta Miranda, executive director of the Center for Women and Families.

As the program progresses, officers will be able to receive the EPO's on their mobile computers another time-saving step.

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