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Hamilton Co. made it easier to file civil protection orders. Domestic violence orders could soon follow

Phil Armstrong
Courtesy of Hamilton County
Hamilton County Courthouse

A new streamlined process for filing civil protection orders in Hamilton County could expand to domestic violence orders as well.

Clerk of Courts Pavan Parikh says previously, people filing a civil protection order had to fill out the paperwork in person at the courthouse; now you can do it online ahead of time, even on your smartphone.

“Also, the online form is written in much more standard English, it's not the legalese and legal jargon that you usually find on forms,” Parikh said. “So for example, it's asking you what's your name, not what's the petitioners name, or who's the person that you're seeking protection from, not respondent.”

Parikh says the change went into effect in March and has virtually eliminated wait lines. There are still computers available for people to use for filling out the paperwork.

The Common Pleas Court is also working with a new interpretation service that can provide a translator within a couple of hours.

“What we had found previously is that approximately 10% of people that were seeking an order were effectively being turned away because they needed translation services and we couldn't get them those services same-day, so they were being told they'd have to come back the next day, the next week, and a lot of them were not coming back,” Parikh said.

The court has a Spanish translator on staff, but can’t keep up with the demand. Parikh says the problem started a couple years ago when Kentucky raised the reimbursement rate for translators, and many translators opted to work there. The new system allows for same-day services, sometimes within an hour or two.

So far, the changes only apply to civil protection orders for stalking or sexually oriented offenses; a separate court covers protection orders for domestic violence. These orders apply if the person seeking protection is related to the respondent by blood or marriage and has lived with them at any time; or if the person is living with or has lived with the respondent during the past five years; or the person used to be married to the respondent; or the person has a child with the respondent, whether or not they ever married or lived together.

“With civil stalking protection orders, it really just is the clerk's office and the magistrates that we really need to coordinate with,” Parikh said. “With the domestic violence, there's a few more entities we need to coordinate with. I think that's part of what's taking a little bit longer — making sure we've got everybody on the same page.”

Parikh says his office is working on that coordination and hopes to expand the changes to domestic relations court by the end of the year.

Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.