Do Protective Orders Work?
Campbell Co,VA - In the last year, several tragedies that police link to domestic violence. The Aubrey Evans case and the Cordell Carter case are two examples. Both men, investigators say, murdered their wives in domestic disputes. Now, investigators say Jerry Harper nearly slashed his own wife to death in Campbell County Wednesday; a story that domestic violence counselors are all too familiar with.The Campbell County Sheriff's Office says Harper had violated the protective order that his wife had filed-against him twice. Still, Linda Ellis Williams, Director of the Domestic Violence Prevention Center and Sexual Assault Response Program Director for the YWCA says it's critical for domestic violence victims to file protective orders. "If a victims allows a perpetrator, while a protective order's in place, to have a conversation with her, she's just giving him more room to feel like she's not serious about the protective order and then he'll push it to another level," Ellis said.Sheriff Steve Hutcherson of Campbell County says the laws have changed for the better: protective orders allow officers to show up make an arrest and remove the offender, immediately. Hutcherson says the justice system takes time to work and with violent offenders and victims may not have that luxury. "If I was concerned that something like that might happen, I would go ahead and stay in a shelter for a few days and give the process a chance to work," Hutcherson said. Experts say they key is to contact the authorities the first time get the order in place and have an escape plan know what you're going to do.Ellis Williams says there are many avenues for victims to take, but they need to keep their abusers accountable and once a protective order is in place. Williams says do not give any power back to the offender. "If a victims allows a perpetrator, while a protective order's in place, to have a conversation with her, she's just giving him more room to feel like she's not serious about the protective order and then he'll push it to another level."