Advocates, police paint different pictures of protective orders

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SPEEDWAY, Ind. (Mar. 4, 2015) — Police said a woman who shot and killed her ex-boyfriend as he broke into her apartment did not file a protective order, but an advocate tells CBS4 that shouldn’t matter. Around 4 a.m. Wednesday, that woman called police saying her ex was breaking in and she had a gun. Speedway Police arrived to find the man dead near the entry of the home.

Lt. Trent Theobald, with Speedway Police, told CBS4 that officers had responded to the location for issues between the two recently, but that the woman had not filed a protective order in court.

“If you are a victim, please report it. Take the proper steps,” Theobald said.

Laura Berry, with the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said that while police were right in letting the public know what they can learn from the case, a protective order is not always helpful.

“We always say that a victim should only file a protective order if they think it’s going to accomplish what they want,” Berry said.

Berry said an order will only work if an abuser is cooperative and that in some cases, getting courts involved can put a victim in even more danger.

She said every case is different. The case of IMPD officer Kim Carmack, who was shot and killed by her ex-husband last year, shows the opposite. Carmack did file a protective order.

“Protective orders aren’t always the best solution for a victim,” Berry said.

Berry and police did agree on what the case does to highlight larger issues for the community, though. Both pointed to services available to people in abusive relationships or who fear for their lives.

Killings of abusers by their victims have decreased because of access to services, Berry said, but the deaths of victims have stayed steady and seem to be getting more violent.

“Even though resources are available, even though we can offer shelter and we can offer protective orders, women and children are still being killed at the same rate,” Berry said.

Police did not arrest the woman in this case, saying prosecutor’s will review it to determine if charges should be filed. They said all indicators in the early investigation pointed to self-defense and agreed with Berry that the lack of protective order won’t matter in the case.

If you or someone you know needs help, you can access services by calling 211.

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