Special court set up for victims of domestic violence

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- Domestic violence is behind some of the most brutal violence against women and children. St. Joseph County has a new court set up to help victims of domestic violence.

The courtroom can be intimidating, especially for victims of domestic violence.

"Sometimes it is hard for people to come and tell these stories, so we are going to try to make it a user friendly, victim friendly environment," said St. Joseph County Judge Michael Gotsch.

A new civil court is up and running in St. Joseph County.

Its purpose is to get victims of domestic violence the protection they need before that violence turns deadly.

Gotsch has spent the last two years creating a new system dedicated to personal protection orders - one of the legal system's most important tools for people caught in abusive domestic circumstances.

"If you are involved in a situation like this, you want to create a protection plan for yourself so you are safe wherever you go and that is certainly one of those tools in that kind of process," said Gotsch.

In the new civil court, victims can get a protective order checked and set up more quickly;

"We will have an expeditious review of the case and the cases will all be reviewed within two hours, either you will have an order within two hours or you know you will be getting a hearing within two hours," said Gotsch.

The court is now better prepared to make protecting victims a top priority. 

If you need to file for a protective order, you can go to the YWCA, the Family Justice Center, or any court in St. Joseph County and they can provide assistance to you immediately.

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