What to know about Emergency Protective Orders

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Lexington police say the city is seeing the highest number of domestic violence homicides in the last five years. Thirteen of the city’s 26 closed homicide investigations are domestic violence related.

The most recent case happened on Bay Colony Lane the day before Thanksgiving, where Stephon Henderson allegedly shot and killed his wife Talina Henderson. Lexington police originally arrested Henderson on 3 charges, including violating an emergency protective order, but according to the Fayette County Detention Center that charge has been dismissed.

Emergency protective orders (EPOs) can be intimidating, a big stack of legal papers concerning a situation that has made someone feel unsafe filled out in a courthouse and approved by a judge. But the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office tries to make the process as stress-free as possible.

“When you come and file, I know the courthouse is big and it can be scary coming in alone, but know that there are friendly faces here that believe you and want to help,” says Crystal Happy Clay, director of the Amanda Center. “We walk you through the process of filling out paperwork and provide resources with our, well from our, community partners.”

The Amanda Center says it’s not common to see EPOs denied by a judge and usually when it’s denied, it’s because the case belongs in criminal court not civil. Clay says when it comes to filling out the paperwork, be as detailed as possible and include any and all examples.

“If you file a protective order and it is denied, you can still attempt to request another petition. You may want to look at it as ‘is there something I may have left out?’, ‘is there something more that the judge might need to know that I didn’t think of?’, something that maybe even happened a couple of weeks or months ago that would matter,” says Clay.

The Amanda Center says not to be afraid that the alleged abuser will see all of the information in the EPO, as all personal details are blacked out before being served to them.

“They should always trust their gut,” says Clay. “Do not let your abuser talk you out of or convince you that people don’t believe or won’t believe what you’re experiencing.”

To reach the Amanda Center, call (859)252-1771.

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