In Utah, a new pilot program is helping rural victims of domestic violence and abuse navigate the thorny processes of picking the right court protective order in court, and doing so at an affordable price. Certified Advocate Partners Program (CAPP) was started by two attorneys who wanted to provide better legal services to domestic violence victims. The program uses non-attorney victim advocates, who speak with the victim and inform them of their options. The project is funded through Intermountain Healthcare and the Timpanogos Legal Center.

From the story on The Daily Yonder: “Two victim advocates who work in rural areas of the state are Devin Shakespear and Tess Barger. 

“Especially in our rural area, we do not have legal services for victims,” said Shakespear, who works in Kane County in southern Utah. The closest city with accessible legal services is an hour and a half away, she noted.

“A lot of victims, you don’t have the time off work, they don’t have childcare, they don’t have transportation at the time. There’s a lot of reasons why they can’t just up and go to the next city where they can access that type of stuff,” Shakespear said. 

“So just being able to have that access right here locally, someone that they can call up and meet with within a day – maybe two days, depending on their schedule – just always available and then able to provide that help, I think it’s critical.”

Before CAPP, Shakespear said, people would often ask for her help but she was unable to provide it. 

“I wasn’t able to provide them legal advice,” she said, adding: “There are a lot of different types of orders in Utah. And so, someone might come in and be like, ‘Oh, I need a protective order.’ And then they explain their situation. And I know that they actually don’t meet that criteria for a protective order, and they should have applied for, say, a stalking injunction or just a different type of order. But I wasn’t allowed to tell them that prior to the program.”

With CAPP, advocates help their clients choose the right protection order that will keep them safe, and exercise their rights as citizens that they might not have known they possessed.

To read the rest of the story, click here.