On April 12, The Supreme Court of Texas, in collaboration with the Texas Access to Justice Commission, unveiled a self-help Protective Order Kit which will enable victims of domestic violence to file their own applications for protective order. The kit, created by a Texas Supreme Court Task Force, will make it possible for victims to have access to court-ordered protection for themselves and their children, including compelling the abuser to leave the home if necessary.
The Protective Order Kit was unveiled at a press conference to commemorate National Crime Victims' Rights Awareness Week, which is observed April 10-16, 2005. Texas First Lady Anita Perry, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Supreme Court Justice Harriet O'Neill spoke at the press conference in support of the Protective Order Kit. Additionally, Thomasina Olaniyi-Oke, a survivor of domestic violence, spoke about how legal aid helped her escape a violent marriage.
The free, step-by-step Protective Order Kit comes with detailed instructions for filling out the paperwork, having a temporary order signed by a judge and requesting a hearing date to grant the protective order. The temporary order and the protective order are enforceable once they are signed by a judge. The kit also provides helpful information for victims on how to prepare for the hearing. There is no cost to the victims to participate in these proceedings.
The Protective Order Kit is available at www.TexasLawHelp.org. The kit will be translated into Spanish and Vietnamese within six months. Individuals needing assistance with filling out the paperwork, information about their legal rights or assistance with safety planning should call the Women's Advocacy Project's Family Violence Legal Line at 800-374-4673.