The Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court and General District Court recently instituted an important new program to help individuals who are seeking a protective order.

Pam Cooke and Debbie Drake are standing by to help anyone who has been a victim of violence or abuse to navigate the procedures of obtaining an protective order and obtain the services they need. This process can empower people in abusive circumstances to leave those circumstances and make a positive change in their lives.

We need these sort of programs. When victims know there are viable alternatives, they are much more likely to leave their abuser and do what is necessary to protect their children. They and their children are also much more likely to avoid returning to the criminal justice system. This can potentially save lives and in the long run it also saves resources for the criminal justice system. New programs like this one are precisely the sort of innovative and service-oriented programs I will champion as Commonwealth’s Attorney. I have mentioned these in more detail in my section on this site Ending The Cycle Of Violence.

This program is much needed in our community because very few victims come forward. Most victims are afraid of the process to obtain a protective order. As the chief prosecutor for Lynchburg, it is my job to make these types of things easier for the citizens of Lynchburg. This program does just that. It provides assistance to those who need help navigating the system. We have to bring awareness to this issue in order to preventing future domestic violence. It is our job to protect the most vulnerable around us, a responsibility that I take very seriously.

For those who wish to watch the full story from WDBJ it is available here.

As a prosecutor, I have spent years fighting for the victims of domestic violence in the JDR court and in circuit court. Now, at any given time our domestic violence prosecutors have between 80 and 90 cases in their case load. This is significant. Our domestic violence prosecutors need a leader who has tried hundreds of these cases like I have.