Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Experts say injunctions help domestic violence victims, but aren't a one-size-fits-all solution

Sheryl Laird got a domestic violence injunction against her ex-husband in 2005. That didn't stop him from killing her last October, putting her in the trunk, and setting the car ablaze on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

Donna Wood sought injunctions against her husband, William, in 2002, 2005 and 2007. That didn't stop him from shooting and killing her on St. Petersburg's Snell Isle.

Laura Taft got a domestic violence injunction against her boyfriend earlier this month, after he became a suspect in the death of their baby in Clearwater. Now Craig Wall sits in the Pinellas County Jail, accused of murdering them both.

The piece of paper called an injunction does not stop bullets or knives. Should a victim bother getting one?

"Injunctions are valuable," said Susan Rozelle, a professor of criminal law at the Stetson University College of Law. But, she stressed, "They are only one piece of the puzzle. Injunctions are court orders — they are not police protection details."

A person who has been threatened can seek an injunction. If a judge grants a temporary or permanent injunction, the person who made the threats is not allowed to continue contacting the victim.

This can be key to breaking an abusive relationship. Wall, for example, was arrested when he drove to the parking lot of the church where his son's funeral was being held. It was considered a violation of an injunction that prevented him from having contact with Taft.

"Getting one can deter some people," Rozelle said.

But the Wall case highlights something else about injunctions in domestic violence cases.

"You may be at very high risk because you're now taking out a legal document," said Joanne O. Lighter, president and CEO of The Spring domestic violence center in Tampa. "It's an embarrassment to the abuser. The larger issue is that that abuser has lost control."

That's why Lighter and other experts say it's crucial to have a safety plan when taking out a domestic violence injunction.

For some, this means moving into a shelter. But others can take simple steps: make sure to have friends around; always have car keys handy; hang on to a cell phone.

For help, look in the phone book under "domestic," dial 211 (where available), or try a national number, 1-800-799-SAFE. In Pinellas, CASA can be reached at (727) 895-4912, and in Hillsborough, The Spring can be reached at (813) 247-7233.

Times researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report.

Experts say injunctions help domestic violence victims, but aren't a one-size-fits-all solution 02/26/10 [Last modified: Friday, February 26, 2010 11:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas School Board approves plan that aims to close achievement gap

    K12

    After months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, the Pinellas County School Board on Tuesday unanimously approved a plan that aims to tackle the achievement gap in 10 years and settles a long-running lawsuit over the education of black students.

    "I'm an optimist. I think this is going to work," Pinellas School Board member Linda Lerner said Tuesday after the board was presented with a plan that aims to settle a long-running lawsuit over the education of black students and close the achievement gap. The board voted 7-0 to approve the plan. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  2. With big concerts approaching, Tampa Bay venues remain vigilant after Manchester attack

    Public Safety

    In the aftermath of an explosion that killed at least 22 people — including children — moments after a pop concert ended in England on Monday night, local venues are assuring the public that security will continue to be tight at the Tampa Bay area's upcoming big-ticket shows.

    Fans cross Himes Avenue in Tampa toward Raymond James Stadium before the start of Beyonce's Formation World Tour in Tampa on April 29, 2016. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  3. Kahwa Coffee to open second drive-thru store in St. Petersburg

    Retail

    Kahwa Coffee will open its 12th location and fourth with a drive-thru in a former "farm store" in St. Petersburg.

    Kahwa Coffee will open its 12th location and fourth with a drive-thru in a former "farm store" in St. Petersburg.
[Times file photo]

  4. Editorial: Pie-in-the-sky Pier thinking

    Editorials

    A consultant's report commissioned by the city makes quite the case for feeling good about the new St. Petersburg Pier. The $80 million cost would be worth every dime because in just its first year of operation, the report from Lambert Advisory predicts, the Pier will create an economic impact of — you guessed it …

    A consultant’s report commissioned by the city makes quite the case for feeling good about the new St. Petersburg Pier. The reality is less tidy.
  5. Target Corp. reaches $18.5 million settlement with 47 states over data breach

    Retail

    NEW YORK — Target Corp. has reached an $18.5 million settlement over a massive data breach that occurred before Christmas in 2013.

    Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia have reached an $18.5 million settlement with Target Corp. to resolve the states' probe into the discounter's massive pre-Christmas data breach in 2013. 
[Associated Press]