The ExPO Court Outreach Program is able to reach the largest number of victims of intimate partner abuse in any given week. Staff are located on site at the Family Court in Kapolei and downtown to support victims as they seek legal protection in civil and criminal court. The ExPO civil court outreach is available to victims at both stages of the process – ex parte and in order to show cause hearing. Staff offer support during a time that is often nerve-racking and heartbreaking for victims. ExPO advocates have the unique opportunity of providing family violence information, often heard by the victim for the first time, and thus are able to provide social and emotional support as well as to validate the victim during this very traumatic and often confusing period of “escape”. ExPO services include: providing information on family court process and procedures, referrals to domestic violence and other community resources, legal representation, crisis intervention, advocacy, risk/lethality assessments and safety planning for victims who are witnesses in domestic violence misdemeanor cases, ExPO advocates also provide information, crisis support and referrals to other community agencies.
In 1999 at the invitation of a Family Court Judge, Domestic Violence Action Center began its outreach program in the Family Court of the First Circuit. The mission of the ExPO Court Outreach program is to provide court outreach services to survivors of intimate partner abuse who are petitioning the courts for restraining orders or involved with criminal cases as witnesses. Our concept regarding outreach services is that instead of waiting for survivors of intimate partner abuse to find us, we’ll go to where they are and introduce our services and any other community services that may be able to assist them with their specific needs.
We believe that through this program we are addressing the community need to provide support and information to petitioners (or victim defendants) at the time a restraining order is requested. We also believe that it is important to assist a woman in assessing if a restraining order is in her best interest and to explore with her what her options are if the restraining order does not work for her. For victims whose abusers have been charged with dv crimes, the prospect of testifying is terrifying. Information about the criminal justice system important, empowering and increases safety.
Services provided by ExPO Court Outreach staff include but are not limited to the following:
- Crisis intervention
- Legal information class conducted by an attorney
- Legal Representation (in protection order cases)
- Legal and non-legal information in preparation for the order to show cause hearing
- Information on family court process and procedures
- Family court accompaniment
- Risk assessments and safety planning
- Referrals to the Domestic Violence Action Center attorneys and private attorneys
- Referrals to long –term advocate case managers
- Referrals to domestic violence and non-domestic violence community resources
- Domestic violence education
- Short-term individual advocacy
- System advocacy
- Safety options at court
- Emergency legal triage
- Advocacy for defendants who have been assessed to be survivors of intimate partner abuse