Certification Of Orders Of Protection To Be Completed At Hall Of Justice

  • 7/21/2004
  • Helen Nguyen
  • VLSP
  • Source: New York > Rochester / Finger Lakes

Forty-eight hours - that's how long it typically took for victims of domestic violence to get their orders of protections certified and served on their abusive partners. Why that long? Because of what many women perceived as a "frustrating" technicality, the order of protection needed to be physically transported from the courthouse to the Monroe County Clerk's Office to be certified.

Now, because of a joint effort by the Integrated Domestic Violence (IDV) Court and the clerk's office, there is no longer a waiting period. Instead of the certification process taking place at the clerk's office, it will be completed right at the Hall of Justice. Specifically, employees from the clerk's office will be at the courthouse to certify the order of protection immediately after the judge issues it.

"Domestic violence, unfortunately, remains a serious problem in our community," said Monroe County Clerk Cheryl Dinolfo. "This new partnership will create a small, but vital, link between my office, the court and law enforcement to ensure that victims can be protected as soon as possible."

The greatest benefit to having the orders of protection being certified at the courthouse is that the police can take immediate action to serve and enforce the order on the abusive partner.

Cathy Mazzotta of Alternatives for Battered Women (ABW) praised the new initiative.

"We here at ABW are excited about the steps the County Clerk's office and the courts are taking to better enhance the safety of victims of domestic violence by expediting orders of protection," Mazzotta said.

IDV Court

The IDV court in Monroe County opened in January 2003. Based on a "one family-one judge" concept, the special court involves a single judge handling all issues that affect a family where the underlying issue is domestic violence. For example, in addition to issuing orders of protection, the IDV court handles divorce and custody issues, as well as any other civil and criminal matters that affect the family.

The IDV court is part of an overall statewide initiative to better address the issue of domestic violence by combining issues previously handled separately by other courts.

"By addressing the problem of domestic violence in total, the Integrated Domestic Violence Court is improving the lives of victims and their families, while administering justice to batterers," stated Judge Elma Bellini who presides over the IDV court.