A closer look at protection orders - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

A closer look at protection orders

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By: Jenn Schanz

Far too often police say it's not until after the sirens stop, that they learn of a victim's past abuse.

A recent Lincoln kidnapping and a shooting in Fremont last year have something in common.

Both suspects were in violation of the victim's protection order.

"I do think when women get a protective order it's really important that they let other people know that they've got it," says Kay Mathews of Friendship Home, a shelter for battered women and children in Lincoln.

Unlike a restraining order, a protection order is enforced by police, not the courts. When an order is violated, police can make an arrest, and hold the violator without bond.

But law enforcement, victim advocates, and survivors all agree, it takes more than just a protection order.

Officials say those in an unsafe situation should take immediate action, and have a plan.

 "People need to constantly reassess their safety plan to make sure that they are safe, and if they don't feel safe, what can they do to feel safer," says Joanna Briggs of the Victims Witness Unit at the Lincoln Police Department.

For one survivor, it wasn't until she was in a shelter that she finally felt safe.

"There's been three protection order violations and it gets hard to have faith in law enforcement to feel safe. Because even when you do call, your abusers still have a way to get to you. They don't always get picked up the same day, so it's still a scary thing. Although you have that [protection order] it's really just a piece of paper."

For more information on Friendship Home follow this link: http://www.friendshiphome.org/

For more information on Voices of Hope, a crisis center for domestic abuse victims, follow this link: http://voicesofhopelincoln.org/

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