RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina wants to make it safer and easier for victims of domestic violence to get the help they need.
In some North Carolina counties, including Wake and Durham, domestic violence victims can now go online to file a protective order.
The electronic filing system was implemented in Wake County in 2016 and Durham County in 2017. The state has plans to add more counties in our area by the end of 2019.
Electronic filing allows the victim to avoid the courthouse and instead go to a local advocacy agency that offers electronic filing. After filing, the victim can then have the case heard before a judge through video-conference.
“There are safety benefits, there are transportation benefits,” said North Carolina Court Management Specialist Stephanie Satkowiak. “There is simply the benefit of knowing you are in a comfortable environment rather than sitting in a courthouse, which can be tremendously intimidating.”
Interact Wake County, the sole electronic filing location in Wake County, has processed about 800 requests since the program went live.
“When you go to the courthouse, you risk running into your abusive partner or somebody that you know,” said Keri Christensen of Interact Wake County. “If you come here, you walk into a confidential, private space.”
The new system also provides the victim with access to a domestic violence advocate and the victim has complete access to the district court community, including law enforcement.