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Domestic violence kiosk set up in city

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By Dennis Box

The Courier-Herald

By Dennis Box

The Courier-Herald

Victims of domestic violence now have another avenue of help available at Bonney Lake City Hall.

A kiosk, or computer terminal, has been installed inside City Hall, allowing people to request a temporary protection order from the Pierce County Superior Court without driving to the county building in Tacoma.

The terminal connects to Pierce County Superior Court and allows a user to fill out an application requesting a temporary no-contact order.

“A confirmation number is given at the end of the application,” said Janine Cavalier, an information technology spokeswoman for Pierce County Superior Court. “They can come back in about an hour and get confirmation or if there is a problem (with the form) fix it.”

Once the order has been confirmed or signed by a judge, the individual can take the order to a law enforcement agency to have it served.

Cavalier said the court suggests a police officer, rather than a citizen, serve the order.

The kiosk system was brought to Bonney Lake through the work of Councilwoman Cheryle Noble and Municipal Court Administrator Katheryn Seymour.

“This has been a concern I brought when I first started on the council,” Noble said. “The incidents of domestic violence are too high, there are too many deaths and families torn apart. There are so many reasons why the victims don't get help and if I can do anything to save someone from being injured that's my goal.”

Seymour said they had seen articles on the units being placed in Gig Harbor and Lakewood and decided a kiosk would work well in Bonney Lake.

“There is a need,” Seymour said. “And this is not just for city residents. Anyone in the area can come in and use it.”

Seymour said the kiosk is being paid for out of the domestic violence assessment fund. Each person who is convicted of a domestic violence charge is assessed a fine of $100, along with other fines and judgments. The $100 goes into a fund aimed at helping victims of domestic violence.

The fund was started by City Council ordinance in 2003.

The advantage of the kiosk is a police officer does not need to be called to an individual's house. The city's municipal court routinely gives out a temporary restraining order after a person is charged and the order is in effect until a court appearance.

At the kiosk a person can request the no contact order without charges being filed, but the person asking for the order must appear in court within 14 days to make the order go beyond two weeks.

There is no charge for filing the order. Once the form is filled out on the computer, it is sent directly to the superior court. A court clerk takes the form to a judge to be reviewed for approval.

The person filing for the order must be 16 years old and an order cannot be filed against a legal guardian. Also there must be a domestic or family relationship for the order to be approved.

Seymour said the court clerks on duty will be able to assist a person using the kiosk.

Dennis Box can be reached at dbox@courierherald.com.

The following is information about domestic violence provided by the Pierce County prosecutor's office.

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior used by one individual to establish and maintain control over another individual. It is a cycle of violence between family or household members involving physical harm, emotional abuse, sexual assault, or reasonable fear of harm.

The cycle of domestic violence can occur in any type of relationship where two (or more) people are related or living together. These relationships include marriages, partnerships, dating relationships, roommates, and blood-related family members (abusers and victims can be parents, children, siblings, grandparents, stepparents, etc).

Perpetrators and victims of domestic violence come from all ethnic backgrounds, socioeconomic classes, religious affiliations, sexual orientations, professions, and ages. Domestic violence knows no boundaries.

The cycle of violence generally involved three phases: tension building, violence, and honeymoon.

During this phase, the perpetrator may be argumentative and easily angered and will often yell, criticize the victim, swear, and use hostile/threatening gestures. Sometimes the abuser will use coercion, threats, or manipulation and during this phase, several verbal altercations may occur. During this phase, the tension between the couple escalates and the person being abused often feels like he/she is walking on eggshells or has a continual fear that something will happen if they upset their partner.

As the tension builds, some form violent attack is highly likely. The attack may come in the form of physical or sexual violence and may include threats to seriously harm the victim or children. It is in this phase that injury is most likely to occur and that the police may be called to intervene.

The ‘honeymoon' phase usually comes after a physical, emotional, or sexual assault on the victim. The abuser may feel remorseful for the explosion and shower the victim with attention, promises, or gifts. Many abusers say things like:

€ I'll never do it again I'm sorry, and I never meant to hurt you;

€ I promise I will change;

€ I promise I'll get help; or

€ I only did it because I was high/drunk/lost my temper.

These phases tend to repeat over time and there may be days, weeks, months, or even years between episodes. As the cycle of violence escalates, the period between the phases often becomes shorter and shorter. This explains how the three dynamics of love, hope and fear keep the cycle in motion and make it hard for a victim to end a violent relationship. Often, the longer the relationship lasts, the faster the cycle will turn - and the worse the abuse gets during the explosion /violence phase.

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