Local News

Authorities say domestic violence protective orders are key step in escaping violence

Posted November 26, 2019 4:54 p.m. EST

The Durham County Sheriff's Office says more than 800 people have filed domestic violence protective orders in the county, this year alone -- and that many of those are keeping accusers safe.

They say that these orders are a key step to getting help, and that at courthouse and at the sheriff's office, people are ready to help those who need it.

The murder-suicide outside the UNC Family Medicine clinic highlights a worst-case scenario.

Victoria St. Hillaire, who worked at the clinic, had a domestic violence protective order against the suspect, Lequintin Ford.

It was her third one taken out against Ford.

The first, from 2015, says Ford hit her, threw a brick through her bedroom window, and threatened to shoot her.

Court records show he violated the protective order, and had pending charges for stalking her.

"Anytime we hear something like that, it’s a very emotional day in the office," said Kent Wallace-Meggs of the Durham Crisis Response Center.

The non-profit that offers services to survivors, including shelter, counseling, and legal help.

He says survivors should not be discouraged, as so many protective orders do what they are supposed to.

"Where you can find hope is in the cases where it has worked. Where lives have been saved because those protective orders were in place," Wallace-Meggs said.

The Durham County Sheriff's Office has a team ready to help survivors.

"We try to make sure that every person we come in contact with knows that they have someone they can reach out to if they have questions, or need help," said Deputy Lindsey Hamlett.

Hamlett tell us he will walk survivors through the process of getting a protective order, and getting other resources.

"Just having a support person, I think, is really important in a process like this," he said.

Monday's event can trigger those struggling, but there are professionals ready to help.

"You have to know that there’s always hope."

WRAL has compiled a list of resources for those experiencing domestic violence, which can be physical, financial, and emotional.

Click here to see it.

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