GREENSBORO, NC (Oct. 14, 2015) – In August 2015, Guilford County instituted the Electronic Protective Order System. With this new program developed by the NC Administrative Office of the Courts (NCAOC), the temporary protective order process is now automated, with the victim initiating and completing the process to obtain an emergency order from [one] location at the Guilford County Family Justice Center in Greensboro or the Family Service of the Piedmont’s Slane Center in High Point.
“The most significant benefit of e-filing is enhanced safety for the victims of domestic violence. Now a victim can go to one place, fill out a complaint, appear before a judge and have the Order delivered to the Sheriff’s Department for service. Before e-filing, a victim had to go to three different locations to accomplish these tasks,” stated Chief District Court Judge Wendy Enochs.
Improving the effectiveness and efficiency of services to victims of child abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, and elder abuse are at the core of Guilford County Family Justice Center’s mission and vision. The Center, which opened in June 2015, works with partner agencies throughout the community to provided coordinated and streamlined services in a single location.
“Guilford County is only the second County in the state offering this program …” said Catherine Johnson, Director of the Guilford County Family Justice Center. “The feedback from victims benefiting from this program has only highlighted its significance, as many have repeatedly stated that this new process is easier, more supportive, and a critical contributor toward establishing safety.”
When a victim is filing for an order of protection … the deputy Clerk of Court uses video conferencing technology to swear in the victim, certify the order and set a hearing date with a the click of a button. The presiding Judge then holds the ex-parte hearing, also via video conferencing. Throughout the process the victim remains at the Center from which the order is filed. From the Clerk, to the Judge, to the Sheriff, and back to the victim, the order is signed and processed electronically. In addition, once the defendant is served by the Sheriff’s Office, the victim is notified via email and/or text message.
Last year, 1420 protective orders were filed in Guilford County, NC.
The Guilford County Family Justice Center is located at 201 S. Greene St., Greensboro, NC and Family Service of the Piedmont’s Slane Center is located at 1401 Long St., High Point, NC. Both centers are open for walk-ins Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. While assistance and support to victims is provided throughout the day, all protective orders must be submitted by 12:30 pm in order to be heard by the presiding Judge that same day.