Protective Order Project (POP)
About Protective Orders
What Is the Protective Order Project?
POP is a trained group of law students and volunteer attorneys who provide legal represenation for people who need protective orders.
POP's Executive Board is:
- Alyson Schwartz, Student Director
- Casey Judge, Assistant Student Director
- Jordan Couch, Case Management Supervisor
- Lauren Hodge & Sarah Kupferberg, Directors of Outreach
- Steve Henke, Treasurer
- Simone Sprague, Fundraising Coordinator
What Is a Protective Order?
A protective order is a civil order from a judge that tells the abuser that they must:
- not abuse, harass, or disturb the peace of the victim or any member of the victim's household, in any place, public or private;
- not contact the victim or any member of the victim's household, directly or indirectly;
- not enter the property of the victim; and
- not destroy any of the victim's property.
Who Can Get a Protective Order?
Anyone who has been physically abused, threatened with abuse or had their property abused or threatened with abuse is eligible for a protective order. The Protective Order Project accepts clients who have been victims of domestic abuse, dating violence, sexual abuse, stalking, and similar offenses.
What Happens If the Abuser Violates the Protective Order?
The violation of a protective order is a crime (invasion of privacy) and is an element of other crimes, such as stalking, and also constitutes contempt of court.
What Are the Advantages of Protective Orders?
- Increased police responsiveness
Protective orders enable police to intervene before violence occurs, rather than after.
- Speedy remedy
Protective order proceedings provide relief more quickly than the criminal system. An emergency protective order can be obtained within 24 hours of meeting with the client. The hearing to make the order permanent usually follows about two weeks later.
- Easy to obtain
Protective orders are easier to obtain than criminal convictions because of the lower burden of proof in civil cases. Emergency protective orders are issued ex parte, meaning without a hearing, based soley on the sworn statement of the victim.
- Comprehensive relief
Civil protective orders can provide more complete relief than the criminal system can. Some victims can petition for custody, spousal maintenance and child support, counseling, and eviction of the abuser from the home, all in the context of a protective order. Under certain circumstances, clients can petition the court to order the abuser to surrender any firearms he or she owns.
There is no fee for obtaining a protective order if client is or fears they will be the victim of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
What Are the Advantages of Using the Protective Order Project?
Fast reponse time
POP volunteers can obtain an emergency protective
order within 24 hours of meeting with the client. Calls are returned the
same day they come in or the next day if after business hours.
Free representation by a licensed attorney
Many people cannot afford legal counsel. Through the Protect Order Project,
clients get a qualified local attorney to represent them free of charge.
Team of competent and dedicated advocates
At least three student volunteers, who have received special traning
in protective order law, and a volunteer attorney from the community are
assigned to each client. POP is a volunteer organization, which means that
its representatives are genuinely interested in helping clients to protect
themselves and better their lives. Volunteers are available to answer
clients' questions and explain the legal system which can be confusing and
intimidating to many people.
POP volunteers receive special training on domestic violence
and many have experience working with victims of domestic violence, so they are
sensitive to the unique challenges faced by many clients.
Anything a client tells the student volunteers or the volunteer attorney
is confidential and protected by the attorney-client privilege. The
client's address and phone number are not disclosed to the abuser.