Kansans can now file for a protection order online instead of going to a courthouse.
The new Kansas Protection Order Portal allows people with a computer or smartphone to ask a judge to issue them a protection from abuse, stalking, sexual assault or human trafficking order.
Kirstin Perez is the program director for the Wichita Women’s Initiative Network, a nonprofit that works with victims of domestic violence. She says the portal is an important tool for the women the organization serves.
“There are many rural areas that individuals might not have access to going to the courthouse, transportation and getting there,” Perez said.
“This is just a great resource that going to allow people to get the safety that they may need.”
The portal will ask a user questions, and the answers will be sent to a judge who will review the application before deciding whether to issue the protection order. An email will be sent out if a judge issues the order.
The portal also:
- explains the qualifications for a protection order from abuse, stalking, sexual assault, or human trafficking
- connects people with resources for emergency support, shelter, community assistance, advocacy support, and legal aid
- includes a "safely exit" option for a person to quickly leave the site if the person's internet use is witnessed, discovered or seen.
Harvey, Johnson, and Riley counties joined the Kansas judicial branch in testing the portal on Dec. 1.
Since then, officials say 84 people in Riley County have used the portal, and 27 have filed by visiting the courthouse in Manhattan.
Wichita Women’s Initiative Network executive director Amber Beck says the service will be life-changing for women.
“It helps us empower women that may not feel like they can go out for a protective order,” Beck said.
“With the way that they have designed this website, and the resources that are on here, I really think that it’s going to be a valuable tool for us to be able to use to help our women gain their voice back.”
The portal does not replace other options. People can still file for a protection order in person at a courthouse.
More information on the portal can be found here.