Tracy Grinstead-Everly, public policy manager for the Texas Council on Family Violence, said it can be intimidating for a woman who is seeking a protective order to have to face a man that abused her in the court room.
“If he has a lawyer, and she doesn’t, she’s at a disadvantage,” Everly said. “If he’s pro se (representing himself), she’s at a disadvantage because he’ll put her on the stand, and cross examine her about everything.”
Everly said it can be difficult to determine whether a person can be held in contempt of a protective order if both parties are in the same facility.
“What if they’re both in Walmart?” Everly asked. “Well, what is he doing in Walmart? If he’s just shopping, that’s OK. If he’s waiting in the produce aisle for her, that can be intimidating.”
Everly recommended that defense attorneys advise clients that have protective orders placed against them to stay away from the other party even if they are invited to see them.
“I’d tell a guy not to go over, even if she says, ‘I’m naked and I cooked you a pie,’” she said.
The presence of guns can increase the risk of family violence, Everly said.
“Female victims of family violence are eight times more likely to be killed if there’s a firearm in the house,” she said.
Seventy-four percent of the 114 Texas women killed by a former or current intimate partner in 2012 were murdered in their homes, Everly said.
Portland Police Lt. Tony Cano said six Portland Police officers participated in the training.
“There are officers from San Patricio County, Mathis, Portland, Taft, and Sinton,” he said. “It’s good for them to know when a protective order can be enforced.”