It should be hard to believe that a person who has been served with a restraining order could still walk up to their victim and kill them…that should be hard to believe but sadly it is not only believable it is true.
Lavatrice Street is one of those people that a restraining order did not help to protect. Street was run off the road and killed by her ex boyfriend earlier this year. The restraining order was found lying beside her in the passenger seat of her car.
Lavatrice Street is only one of many whom sought protection, yet their lives were ended at the same hands of the person the law sought to protect them from.
In many cases a restraining order is merely a piece of paper with words that aren’t taken seriously. The order which sets forth to stop the abuser from harassing, harming or contacting the victim is often seen by the abuser as more of a threat than an order in which they should comply. The victims are often in more danger after the order than they were before they broke their silence and went for help.
Many victims are even at a greater risk of danger once they have sought protection from law enforcement. The abuser oftentimes feels the need to retaliate because they have lost an even greater sense of the control they feel the need to have over the victim.
This excerpt is taken from the Order of Protection from the State of Tennessee (take note of the sections in red) This is what the court advises the respondent (abuser) may happen if they violate the order of protection…
That if you violate this order, you may be held in contempt of Court and punished by incarceration and/or a fine;
That, pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-3-611, you shall be arrested by a law enforcement officer without a warrant if that officer has reasonable cause to believe that you have violated or are violating this order.
Willful violation of this order by the respondent will constitute contempt of court and potential penalties include up to 10 (ten) days in jail and a $50.00 fine for each violation. The court may also impose a civil penalty of up to $50.00 for each violation pursuant to T.C.A. §36-3-610.
My main problem with this “protective” order is the mays and ifs. With this much room for consideration it is clear why restraining orders are not actually serving the purpose in which they were created.Ten days in jail after violating an order of protection is only enough time for an abuser to sit in jail and get infuriated that their victim had them locked up. Ten days is just enough time to sit and think long and hard of revenge. Ten days in jail for violating a court order is simply not enough.
Dawn Creekmore, Arkansas State Legislator feels that something needs to be done about domestic violence in the state of Arkansas. Arkansas ranked 8th in the nation in 2006 for domestic violence homicides against women; Creekmore will be introducing 6 bills in the next legislative session to help combat the severe problem that Arkansas has with domestic violence. Creekmore stated that as the laws stands now in Arkansas victims are more likely t be re-victimized. Currently in the state, repeat violations of a protective order are only a misdemeanor; Creekmore hopes to change that to a Class D Felony punishable by up to 6 years in jail. She also has plans for changes to how the state views stalking and choking a victim, both which are currently misdemeanors.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence seek help or advise them to seek help. Domestic Violence kills. By Calling the National Domestic Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) victims or persons seeking help for victims can receive assistance 365 days a year 24 hours a day. Interpreters are available and referrals for assistance are offered for all 50 states