HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – The West Virginia Supreme Court has released a 4-part video mini-series that walks people through what domestic violence is and what their rights are in court proceedings.
West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Evan Jenkins says he’s always been in contact with magistrates that deal with domestic violence. “The kinds of questions that victims of domestic violence have when they come to magistrate court and lots of things that I’m hearing from magistrates are the types of information that we are providing in our video.”
Victims of domestic violence can file an emergency protective order at any magistrate court in West Virginia. According to Justice Jenkins, West Virginia saw 13,000 domestic violence filings in 2018 alone.
“That’s a significant number,” said Justice Jenkins. “Every West Virginian I’m sure believes we should have no domestic violence occurring, but tragically it does.”
An issue that justices and advocates alike say doesn’t have to involve a physical altercation.
“People, in general, they don’t realize that this certain thing was domestic violence,” said Trish Miles, a counselor at the YWCA’s Resolve Family Abuse Program.
“[The law is] basically is saying that every person has a right to be safe and secure in their home,” said Justice Jenkins. “The court system is there to protect them and uphold their rights.”
The videos, in just 2 months, already have more than 1,000 views; serving as another tool to hopefully break the cycle of violence in the Mountain State.
“I really hope that this video empowers people,” said Justice Jenkins. “It empowers an individual who believes that they’ve been a victim of domestic violence to seek help.”
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