Victims can now file for protection orders online in Kansas via website
In the 2020 fiscal year, nearly 12,500 cases were filed by people seeking a protection order in the Kansas District Courts. This year, filing a protection order in Kansas is now easier and more accessible.
A new web portal rolled out by the Kansas Courts, The Kansas Protection Order Portal (KSPOP), is now available all over the state. People can use the portal to ask a judge to issue an order of protection from abuse, stalking, sexual assault, or human trafficking. The judicial branch created the portal along with UMKC School of Law and A Federal Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program.
KSPOP was tested in Harvey, Johnson, and Riley counties beginning December 1, 2020. Ellis County was added to the program March 1 of this year. Before the portal, people would often file a protection order without an attorney at a courthouse. But filling out the forms in person only starts the process of receiving a protection order, and getting to the courthouse can often be dangerous for a victim. A victim may not have a way of getting to the courthouse that is safe from the perpetrator, or they may live too far from a courthouse.
“Access to justice is important, especially to someone who needs a protection order,” said Amy Raymond, director of trial court programs for the Office of Judicial Administration, in a press release from the courts. “The portal gives people another option to seek that protection order, and it’s one that’s easier to access for many people.”
Through KSPOP, a person is asked questions that will be used to complete forms a judge will review in deciding whether or not to issue a protection order. If the judge issues the order, the filer will receive it via email.
The website explains what is required to qualify for a protection order; connects people with resources for emergency support, shelter, community assistance, advocacy support, and legal aid; and includes a “safely exit” button in the top right corner for a person to quickly leave the site if they are being monitored or their actions are discovered.
“No longer do victims seeking a protection order need to worry about bringing the children with them or trying to leave work early to get to the courthouse before we close,” Lanna Nichols, court administrator for the 21st Judicial District, which includes Riley County, said in the press release.
Staff at the district courts will process the filings during normal business hours. The pilot program proves the increased access allows victims to more easily file for protection orders. Nichols said that 84 people in Riley County used the portal to file for protection since December 1. During that time, only 27 people filed for a protection order in person at the Manhattan courthouse.
Kansas’ judicial branch received additional funding, through the governor’s office, from the federal S.T.O.P Violence Against Women Act. The grant funding will be used to integrate the KSPOP portal with the state’s eCourt system, send automatic updates to filers by email or text message, create a mobile app for the portal, add instructions and forms in other languages to the portal, and develop more self-guided interviews and instructions to help victims complete legal forms and file other legal actions.
To access KSPOP, visit the website.