In the wake of the domestic violence outbreak in 2020, advocates in the St. Louis area find new tools to help | Metro
And in the past, police also sent people to court to file immediate restraining orders against alleged abusers, while shelters helped them fill out forms.
Edgecombe said one of the most welcome changes from the pandemic has been the ability to do so online in St. Louis County circuit courts, in some cases allowing police to assist people with them. fill up on the spot, speaking through a window to reduce contact during the pandemic.
As court backlogs increased and court proceedings were delayed, several other counties and the city of St. Louis followed suit. St. Louis and St. Louis County circuit courts plan to make the change permanent, court officials told the Post-Dispatch this week.
Hope Whitehead, administrator for St. Louis County, said in an email that online protection orders were one of the “shining stars” emerging from the pandemic.
“One victim said to me, ‘Great, now I don’t have to come to court with my bruises on anymore,'” Whitehead said.
“I’ll call 911”
Beyond the courts, service providers and shelters have also had to devise new ways of reaching out.
Woolbright, of Saint Martha’s Hall, said her nonprofit needed to improve at safety planning over the phone with women she couldn’t house. The shelter was only able to accommodate about half the number of women and children as usual in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions.