Domestic Violence Victims Can Now Seek Protective Orders Online
Court changes provide faster, more convenient way for victims to get help
For Immediate ReleaseContact: Kelly Taft, MAG, 602-452-5020
PHOENIX (October 14, 2020)—If you are experiencing domestic violence, a cutting-edge new system allows you to prepare a petition for a protective order online using your computer, tablet, or mobile phone. Protective orders are issued to stop a person from committing an act of harassment or domestic violence against another person or persons.
Arizona is among the first states in the nation to provide domestic violence victims the ability to apply for a petition online, often allowing them to avoid in-person visits to court. The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), which coordinates domestic violence efforts in the region, is highlighting the new Arizona Protective Order Initiation and Notification Tool (AZPOINT) during October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“It is important for us to work together as a region to increase awareness for domestic violence, and for the services available in our communities to help those in need,” says Glendale Mayor and MAG Chair Jerry Weiers. “AZPOINT takes some of the burden off domestic violence victims and provides digital options that are especially important during the pandemic.”
AZPOINT allows victims to complete a petition for a protective order at any time, on any device, and from anywhere. The site provides contact information to connect victims to advocates who can assist in completion of the form. Once a petition is completed, the victim simply contacts the court via phone or in person to retrieve the petition. The court will then schedule a virtual or in-person hearing.
Once an Order of Protection is granted, AZPOINT immediately assigns the order to law enforcement for service where the defendant resides. This is a major enhancement, as victims used to have to take the order to law enforcement themselves or wait for the abuser to appear and then call law enforcement. Victims are more likely to carry through with the new process. From January to August 2020, 77% of the 19,655 protective orders granted through AZPOINT have been served, compared to about 50% of orders served in the months before the system was activated.
If a victim has signed up for notifications, the system will automatically notify the victim when the defendant has been served, meaning the order is in effect and enforceable. The system also immediately notifies the National Crime Information Center, making the database available to police agencies nationwide. This assists law enforcement in enforcing the order. This is not only more efficient but can save lives.
Today’s release includes a new web page that allows the media and public access to videotaped comments regarding the AZPOINT system and other key messages. Speakers include Mayor Weiers; Glendale City Court Presiding Judge Elizabeth Finn, who was instrumental in bringing about the new system; City of Maricopa Police Chief Steve Stahl, who chairs MAG’s Regional Domestic Violence Council; and Alba Bailon, a victim advocate for A New Leaf, who helps victims complete petitions in AZPOINT.
In 2019, there were 96 confirmed domestic violence-related deaths in Arizona. More information and resources are available at azmag.gov/Programs/Domestic-Violence.
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