Greenhouse 17 partnering with Fayette Circuit Clerk to help domestic violence victims

WATCH | Greenhouse 17 partnering with Fayette Circuit Clerk to help domestic violence victims
Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 10:22 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - After a violent year in Lexington and many domestic violence-related homicides, a new partnership is aimed at helping victims.

Greenhouse 17 and the Fayette Circuit Clerk are now working together to help file emergency protective order petitions.

This new partnership will let survivors of domestic violence at Greenhouse 17 file emergency protective order petitions without having to go to the courthouse.

“If it just reduces a level of should I do this or should I not, well, let’s just take that barrier away,” said Associate Director of Greenhouse 17, Diane Fleet. “We’re” right here, safe, right here in shelter. So we can talk them through that and work with them to access the court.”

Fleet says their advocates were actually sworn in as deputy clerks. Which means they can now process petitions and enter them into the system for a judge to review, all from their headquarters.

“Letting them know we can do court advocacy, support groups, financial work and resources, visitations and exchanges,” said Fleet. “Whatever a family identifies as a needs that is a hindrance to leaving the situation that is unsafe, we really try to meet that need.”

In 2022, one-third of Lexington’s homicides were domestic violence related. Fleet says they were always worried about the impact the pandemic would have, from the extreme isolation to stressors from loss of wages. Fleet says they aren’t seeing an increase in people needing their help necessarily, but what they are seeing maybe even more concerning.

“We are seeing an escalation on the intensity of the abuse and violence,” said Fleet. “That is really alarming us. We take all of these cases very seriously. We don’t have a magic wand that will tell us this is a case that will end up in a serious lethality. Or this is a case that we just need some wrap-around services to get out of this situation. We just really don’t know.”

This is why the extra help from Greenhouse 17 is so important. For now, this is a pilot program, and advocates can only file petitions for those using their services.

The Fayette Circuit Court Clerk’s Office will still help all victims of domestic violence. 24 hours a day, seven days a week.