Mecklenburg County has launched a new electronic system for domestic violence victims to get protective orders, the state court system announced Wednesday.
The eCourts Civil Domestic Violence System, which has been launched in conjunction with Safe Alliance, allows for a victim to go through the entirety of a domestic violence application at a domestic violence service agency that is separate from the courthouse.
That means a victim can file a petition, be heard by a judge and receive signed orders remotely. Everything is conducted electronically and via live video feeds with judges, clerks and sheriff’s deputies while a victim receives services such as safety planning, housing and child care from the domestic violence agency.
The goal is to reduce the risk of physical harm to those seeking legal protection.
“Domestic violence eFiling removes a barrier for Mecklenburg County residents by providing a safer and more efficient experience,” said Elisa Chinn-Gary, Mecklenburg County clerk of superior court, in a statement.
Mecklenburg County joins 11 other North Carolina counties with the domestic eFiling system, which started in Alamance County in 2013. The program is expanding with funding through a three-year grant from the United States Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women.
When the program is fully implemented, it will be in 16 counties and serve more than half the state’s population.
In 2018, North Carolina had 32,626 domestic violence protective order filings.