There’s a new tool in Winnebago County to help protect domestic violence victims file an order of protection faster.
It’s been in the works for 5 years with the 17th judicial Circuit Court. Area leaders hope it will help victims of domestic violence and address the large call volume coming in from those who filed an order of protection.
For many years, once an order of protection was filed, a waiting game began for the person doing the filing. It could take days for the order to be served to an offender.
"The anxiety, the worry and the absolute fear that they are already experiencing because of what’s already happening to them to cause them to get an order of protection," said Jennifer Cacciapaglia, the manager for the mayor’s office of domestic violence and human trafficking prevention.
But now, new technology takes away the waiting process and allows for an order of protection to be served within 20 minutes of its submission. The person who submitted it will then receive a call letting them know it was proceed.
Judge Rosemary Collins shared a story about a victim of domestic violence who waited for days, always having to check back in to see if the document had been processed, waiting in fear of her abuser coming back to her home.
"She had to keep calling the sheriff’s department, hour after hour after hour," said Judge Rosemary Collins.
That victim will no longer have to wait. It’s something local leaders say they are hopeful will ease the fears of survivors of domestic violence in the community.
"It should give people who need to use this system a piece of mind, knowing this document has been served," Collins said.
Last year, the county says people filed nearly 7,000 order of protection documents.