The one thing to emphasize about a protective order that it's civil, not criminal, in nature. But it sets in motion a hearing at which the victim has to prove his or her safety is in danger.
"Any time you feel your safety is in danger, you can get a protective order," said Parkersburg Police Chief Bob Newell. "The hearing is within a few days."
And theoretically, getting a protective order is something anyone can do.
"You don't necessarily need proof. But you do have t make a sworn statement of the allegations," said Wood County Deputy Shawn Graham. "Someone could get one when they shouldn't have, but I'm sure the law errs on the side of caution."
All of that sounds simple. But a Domestic Violence awareness advocate we spoke to said getting a protective order often involves telling a story within the confines of a simple form. And that, she says, isn't as simple as it sounds.
While there have been cases involving false accusations the process is all a result of the rising awareness in the past two decades of the issue of domestic violence.
"Now, West Virginia takes it more seriously than before, and police officers are trained more vigorously in prosecuting and arresting domestic violence offenders," said Deputy Graham.
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