Traumatized by the assault, David found that the civil protection order process was nearly as stressful. Because David and Noelle were housemates—not intimate partners or family members—he was not eligible for court assistance. It was difficult and confusing to figure out the legal system alone. This was also early in the pandemic, and the courts and protection order process were frequently changing.
David was referred to ELAP to get free legal help. His case involved both housing and domestic violence, so having access to ELAP staff attorneys experienced in both issues was a relief. Shane, ELAP housing attorney, provided answers to his landlord-tenant questions, and Rochelle, ELAP domestic violence attorney, advised him on his protection order case.
Over five months, David spent countless hours gathering evidence of Noelle’s threats, navigating the court procedures and filing system, and represented himself at numerous court hearings. Despite overwhelming evidence to support his petition, the decision in David’s case was repeatedly delayed against his wishes— because Noelle had filed a counter-protection order against David that he had to first defend himself against. Finally, with Rochelle’s help, David received a one-year Domestic Violence Protection Order.
*Names have been changed and the photo is for illustrative purpose