May 6, 2012

Thousands seek Maine protection orders each year

Temporary orders, like the one granted to a legislator, offer breathing space and set boundaries, experts say.

By Susan M. Cover
State House Bureau

(Continued from page 1)

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Information on filing for a temporary protection-from-abuse order is available at or via the statewide domestic violence helpline at 1-866-834-4357.

Officers can arrest someone for behavior prohibited by the order, such as coming within a certain distance of someone's home, that otherwise wouldn't be a criminal offense, he said.

Malloch noted that law enforcement agencies now have statewide access to information about whether an individual is protected by an order or had one granted against him or her. Before the system was in place, a protected person would have to relay the information to officers, who would have to verify that an order was in effect, he said.

Reckitt said protection orders work best when they're part of a comprehensive process that includes safety planning for the victim. She said when there's a significant risk of danger, it's particularly important that others take some responsibility for keeping the person safe.

"For instance, if you are an employer, you might have two people who are involved in a protective order situation. So it's your responsibility as an employer to figure out what you're going to do about that," she said, whether it is making sure the individuals aren't working the same shift, sharing the same space or other measures.

-- Staff Writer Ann S. Kim contributed to this report.

State House Writer Susan Cover can be contacted at 620-7015 or at:


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