Protective Order Pro Bono Project offers training

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For the last 10 years, volunteer attorneys and students in central Indiana have been helping domestic violence victims obtain protective orders.

Before embarking on this process, volunteers must be trained on the purpose and use of protective orders, develop an understanding of what victims are going through and the possible reasons why they may not have sought help before, and what victims are thinking and concerned about while they’re meeting with bono

The Protective Order Pro Bono Project will host a training session for volunteers April 15 at the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence offices at 1915 W. 18th St. in Indianapolis. The training will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

That training will include information about the dynamics of abusive relationships, as well as information about the somewhat new protective order online registry and a pilot project in Indianapolis hospitals.

Volunteers are asked to register by April 8. ICADV Legal Director Kerry Hyatt Blomquist said the training sessions are typically well attended. She hopes to fill 50 spots.

Participants will receive five hours of free CLE credit, including one hour of ethics, in exchange for taking one pro bono case in the next 12 months. Lunch will be provided.

While this training will be specific to the project that works with advocates handling protective orders in Marion County courts, Blomquist said participants from around the state are welcome to attend. Past trainings have included participants from outside of central Indiana who wanted to start similar projects in other counties.

Trainings include an introduction and history of ICADV and POPBP. One of the latest expansions, and something that will be emphasized in the training session, is a pilot program with POPBP and Indianapolis hospitals Wishard and Indiana University Health, formerly Methodist Hospital.

As part of that program, which began last year on a limited basis, emergency room physicians and nurses who help victims of domestic violence offer their patients information on available resources. While still in the hospital, patients are also offered the option of meeting with someone from POPBP to help them file a petition.

kerry blomquist Blomquist

Previously, hospitals would share information, including how to set up a safety plan and contact an advocate, but the new program helps remove some of the barriers, such as transportation, that may have prevented patients from seeking help.

Sarah Smith, a forensic nurse examiner at Wishard, said that her emergency room experience working with patients who’ve been involved in violence; particularly sexual assault and domestic violence, but also child abuse, elder abuse, and other victims of crimes; has revealed that some victims have a distrust of the police or criminal justice system and prefer not to file a report with a police officer.

However, she said, this program lets them see there is the civil option of filing for a protective order in court.

“If someone in the ER discloses that (she is) a victim of domestic violence, I’ll see them, talk with them, address any medical needs, and I will document – if they want me to – their injuries with photographs and body mapping, which is essentially charting in writing their injuries, and drawing pictures,” she said. “I’ll also offer any assistance, such as shelter placement, how to file a police report, and help patients find resources for counseling. This Protective Order Pro Bono Project is new here, but pretty exciting.”

Smith said she offers this option to anyone who comes through the door who seems to be a candidate. She added that because the majority of Wishard’s patients don’t have insurance, or if they do it is provided by the county, they cannot afford an attorney. While not everyone takes advantage of the service to file a petition for a protective order, patients who turn it down might still take information about how to file later.

Before the pilot program, she said, she could still put a victim in a shelter, but for protective orders she would have to refer them to the police department. She’d give patients the number for the police department and an advocate. With the pilot program, patients seem to be less hesitant to contact ICADV.

“We stress to them, ‘We can’t make you leave the situation,’ because it may not be the right time,” Smith said. “They may have to make arrangements for children. They may not have a dime to their name. They may have extra things going on in their lives. At least they know that’s out there and they’re (POPBP) here for them when they’re ready.”

Blomquist is also excited about the program and that it is possible because of the online protective order registry program, which was launched in July 2009. With that program, advocates can log into an online program and work with petitioners to fill out the needed information in the victim’s own words.

Blomquist asks that each person who attends training for CLE credit take on at least one case in the 12 months following the training. She said some cases might take no more than five to 10 hours of the attorney’s time, and law students are a tremendous resource for the victims and the attorneys. POPBP encourages those who’ve been trained to do more if their schedules allow.

Currently, Blomquist has about 100 volunteers she can contact. If an attorney and a volunteer can take the same case, she pairs them up. In many cases, she’ll continue to pair the same attorney and law student on subsequent cases; there have been a number of mentor relationships as a result of these pairings.

If a volunteer is not available to take a particular case when called, Blomquist keeps that volunteer’s name on the list and will contact that person the next time.

For more information about the upcoming training or POPBP, contact Blomquist at or call 317-917-3685, ext. 8. Register for the training at•


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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.