Order Of Protection Notification Project
SAVIN is an acronym for Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification. The U.S. Department of Justice, through the Bureau of Justice Administration (BJA), implemented the SAVIN program to assist states in building, implementing, and improving victim notification strategies and systems throughout the United States.
The New York Sheriffs’ Institute is the lead SAVIN agency for New York State having been involved in the victim notification business since 1998. The Sheriffs’ Institute as been awarded three SAVIN grants since 2007 and is currently in the process of implementing the Family Court Order of Protection Notification System.
Key to the success of this project is the collaboration between law enforcement, courts, victim advocacy groups, and emergency management agencies. The Sheriffs’ Institute is currently working in close partnership with the New York State Association of Chiefs’ of Police, the New York State Police, the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, the New York State Unified Court System, the New York State Office of Prevention of Domestic Violence, the Westchester County Department of Women and the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence to assure the successful development and implementation of this project.
The period of time immediately following service of an Order of Protection is recognized as a particularly crucial period for a victim. Abusers are often more violent during a period of separation. This project will develop and implement a system that will notify a victim when a Family Court Order of Protection has been served. Of course, the decision to take advantage of this service is the victim’s choice.
If the victim chooses to register for this service, the notification may provide an opportunity for the victim to be proactive and take appropriate precautions during this precarious time allowing the victim to implement a personal safety plan for themselves and any impacted children or other family members.
Technical development of the Order of Protection Notification System is currently underway at the New York State Police and the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services which hosts NY- Alert. The Order of Protection Notification System pilot will be incrementally deployed to the upstate counties of New York State in early 2012. This system will be a 24-hour/7 day per week notification service made available to victims who have been granted a Family Court Order of Protection in any Family Court outside of New York City. The system allows the victim the option to register through NY-Alert (www.nyalert.gov) to receive notification when the Order of Protection has been served. It also allows the victim to select how they choose to be notified:
The victim also has the option to identify other parties to be notified. For example, they may choose to register an advocate, attorney, friend, or family member to be notified when the Order of Protection is served. Victim advocates play an important part in this process by helping make victims aware of this service and by assisting them in registering for the notifications. In addition, a victim advocate will have the ability to track a caseload of victims (if the victim chooses) through the Order of Protection Notification Service.
This can be a powerful tool for victim advocates allowing them to become even more effective in supporting a victim through this difficult time by monitoring the Order of Protection service. Once the pilot system is deployed and operating, we will review its performance and begin analysis for expansion of this project to New York City Family Courts and criminal courts throughout New York State.
Law enforcement also plays a key role in providing for the safety of the victim through the timely and proper service of the Order of Protection. However, in addition to serving the order, the deputy or officer, must be diligent in entering the relevant service data into appropriate law enforcement information systems. In order to assure that the notifications are both accurate and timely, it is critical that law enforcement be aware of the importance of immediately entering the service data (i.e. Serving Agency, Case Number, Date and Time of Service) into the Order of Protection Service Screen on the eJusticeNY portal.
Depending on what technology is available to the law enforcement officers serving the Order of Protection, and what the controlling policy or protocols of their specific agencies are, this might be accomplished through direct entry into a Mobile Data Terminal (MDT) or simply by a radio or phone call to dispatch. The Order of Protection service entry on the eJusticeNY portal triggers the notification through NY-Alert to the victim.
Consequently, the deputy or officer who serves the Order of Protection must take responsibility to assure that this service entry is accurate, complete, and timely. In addition to the public safety and officer safety benefits that result from now having this comprehensive service data on the system, a victim who registered for the Order of Protection Notification may be depending on this important information for their safety.
For additional information, please contact Dan Foro at the New York Sheriffs’ Institute at (518) 434-9091 or by email at email@example.com.
This project was supported by Grant No. 2009-VN-CX-0006 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the Office for Victims of Crime. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not represent the official position or policies of the United State Department of Justice.