With domestic violence on the rise in the Las Vegas Valley during the COVID-19 pandemic, court officials say they’ve launched a new online system that allows people to apply for temporary protective orders electronically.
On Monday, Clark County District Court launched an online application through a partnership with the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada. The application is on the legal aid center’s website and can be accessed by clicking here.
“The stress caused by the circumstances of the Coronavirus pandemic makes this a high-risk time for domestic violence,” Bryce Duckworth, the presiding Family Court judge, said in a statement. “This new guided online form gives those looking to apply for domestic violence protective orders an easily accessible option to obtain a TPO remotely and discretely.”
The online application process comes as local officials say there is a heightened risk of domestic violence in light of the pandemic.
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said Friday that domestic violence and disturbance calls have climbed in the Metropolitan Police Department’s jurisdiction, while other types of crimes have decreased.
Lombardo said Metro tracked about 500 more domestic disturbance-related calls since Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered residents to stay home in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The calls accounted for a 13 percent increase as of April 11.
The online application for a protective order offers what is described as a step-by-step guide to complete a request for an order from the court.
Once the form is completed, applicants may email the application to the court clerk or e-file the document, prompting a hearing conducted by phone. Applications submitted before 4 p.m. will allow for a same-day hearing. Applications submitted after 4 p.m. will result in a hearing the next morning.
Anyone seeking help also may email the Legal Aid Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Local organizations that provide services to victims of domestic violence report an uptick in incidences,” according to a statement from Stephanie McDonald, directing attorney of the Family Law Self-Help Center. “It is crucial that those facing the danger of domestic violence know they can easily file an application for a protective order.”
The Self-Help Center is operated by the Legal Aid Center.