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Fayette County report on protective order review released this week

Stephanie Theakston with the Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Coalition
Stephanie Theakston
Stephanie Theakston with the Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Coalition

This week Lexington’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Coalition is releasing a comprehensive report on protective orders filed in 2023. The findings offer some recommendations to assist survivors.

In 2023, 2443 protective orders were filed in Fayette County, averaging 7 people per day with 61% of petitions involving intimate partner and sexual violence. Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Coalition’s Stephanie Theakston said the average time between filing a petition and attending a final court hearing went from 17 days in 2009 to 49 days in 2023.

“They have to take more time off work. They have to find childcare more frequently. Then it’s just a stressful period in-between filing for the petition and the final hearing, particularly if they have not received the emergency protective order in the meantime. It can really leave survivors unprotected during that time.” said Theakston

Theakston said one suggestion is to move stalking cases out of family court into district court to free up more time for intimate partner and sexual violence petitions.

Theakston said a primary issue facing survivors is adequate housing

“A lot of the times these survivors just don’t have any safe place to go. Either they don’t have family nearby or they can’t afford housing on their own for them and their children,” said Theakston

Theakston noted providing more affordable housing could lend additional protection for survivors. She added the “It’s Time” campaign is the citywide initiative to prevent domestic violence. Theakston said a lot has to do with reaching out to neighbors, pastors, and employers. And in the end she said it's about holding people doing harm more accountable for their behavior.

Here's more with Stephanie Theakston regarding the protective order review:

4STEPHANIETHEAKSTON.mp3

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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