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Bill to close gap in Fla. protection orders progresses in House

Suffering domestic violence or abuse at the hands of a purported loved one can leave a person shaking in their boots. All it takes is a single act of violence. One way that is available to individuals to recover a sense of security is through an injunction for protection or a restraining order from the Florida courts.

Rather than allowing fear of the unknown stop you from acting, the better route to follow is to consult with an attorney who can walk you through all of your options and help you get the protection you need.

As effective as Florida law may be in ensuring the safety of abuse victims, there are some experts and lawmakers who say there are gaps that need to be filled. To address these concerns, the House is currently considering a measure that would amend existing law. It is titled, HB 659, Protection of Crime Victims. 

According to the Florida House’s website, the bill has cleared three committees and is awaiting a second reading. A companion measure is also advancing in the Senate and sponsors expect it will pass. If it does, it would take effect Oct. 1, 2014.

What the measure would do is close what some domestic violence victim advocates say is a perilous gap between when a temporary injunction is ordered and when a final order is issued.

Under current law, temporary injunctions expire after 15 days. Very often a permanent final injunction is issued, but that might not come until after the initial injunction has already expired. According to law enforcement officials, what often happens is that persons covered by such an order disappear after the expiration of the temporary order, thus evading being served the final injunction.

Supporters say the bill before the House would keep the temporary order in force until final action is taken. But in addition, it would make it illegal for a targeted abuser from carrying a firearm or ammunition. Current law only requires that person give up weapons that are registered to them. 

Source: WFSU, “Lawmakers Try To Close Gaps In Protective Injunction Statutes,” Ryan Benk, March 28, 2014
Source: MyFloridaHouse.gov, “Protection of Crime Victims,” April 9, 2014