Assistant District Attorney Joy Alford-Brand prosecutes dozens of domestic violence cases each year. "Most people don't realize how prevalent it is and how many cases we've got. We have a pretty good case load,” she said. The cases she sees are the ones where a victim will already have a protective order or a 50-B order in place. If the offender violates it by either contacting the victim or by causing them more harm, they are subject to arrest and possible jail time. Protective orders are good for a year, and many times having one can be a matter of life or death for the victim. They can ban an abuser from contact as well as certain locations like a home, workplace or church. A violation can lead to immediate arrest, and jail time. The problem is, they're not guaranteed to work. Alford-Brand said in some cases, a protective order can actually increase the chance of a victim being attacked again by 75 percent. Alford-Brand said even so, a protective order is the only defense one may have to get out of a bad situation. “When a victim has no protection what so ever, then there is absolutely nothing stopping that that defendant that offender from carrying out whatever mission he or she might have. That 50-B order is the only thing we have under our current laws to even protect that victim in the slightest." If there is a need, all a victim would have to do is come to the Civil Clerk’s Office and ask for a protective order, which is the first step in protecting yourself from domestic violence." “It's preventable, if we worked more to reduce domestic violence in our community we would save more lives,” Alford-Brand said. Statistics say ten percent of victims never come forward to report domestic violence. If you are being abused, or know someone who is, help is out there. You can call the Open Gate Domestic Violence Shelter 24-hours-a-day at 343-0703.
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