Sunday, September 24, 2000

Protective form result of meeting

Ky. and other states trying to comply

The Associated Press

        FLORENCE — Representatives of Kentucky and seven surrounding states are trying to find a way to enforce emergency protective orders across state lines.

        During the two-day workshop called Project Passport, participants developed a standardized form that they think may allow the region to fully comply with a 1994 federal law that requires states to enforce protective orders from other states.

        “This is going to be a valuable tool,” said Christian County, Ky., District Judge Peter McDonald.

        Kentucky, one of the few states that has a statewide uniform protective order, has been a model for other states for some years now, said Fayette County Sheriff Kathy Witt, one of the keynote speakers.

        Each year, approximately 27,800 protective orders are issued in Kentucky, according to Kentucky State Police.

        The law states that domestic violence protective orders should be enforced across states lines, but the variation among states' protective order forms prevents that from happening, said Kara Daniel, director of Project Passport.

        For example, Illinois, Tennessee and Indiana have different forms from county to county, said Lisa Beran, counsel for the Violence Against Women Office with the U.S. Department of Justice.

        If counties within the same state aren't making their protective orders easy to recognize and understand, confusion between states is to be expected, Ms. Beran said.

        “We have strong federal laws to make these orders mean something. We've just got to work together to make them work,” she said.

        About 80 judges, domestic vio lence specialists, prosecutors and law enforcement officers discussed their various state laws regarding domestic violence to complete the form. Included on the form is information about both parties, as well as details concern ing the protective order.

        The project has the attention of U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, who in a briefing earlier this week expressed interest in the outcome, Ms. Beran said.

        More meetings are planned.


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