Protect yourself with more than a restraining order - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Protect yourself with more than a restraining order

A horrific shooting spree Monday that left 6 people dead was one of the worst ever in south Florida.

 

Patrick Dell gunned down his estranged wife Natasha Whyte-Dell and his four stepchildren before committing suicide. She had a restraining order to keep him away, but it didn't save her and the kids.

So, do restraining orders really work? There are other options domestic violence victims can take.

Lori Butts, a clinical psychologist from Lake Worth said, "People who have restraining orders placed on batterers should not assume that the police are going to be surveilling their house and protecting them."

"If it's somebody who follows rules and doesn't want to get into trouble, then a restraining order can be effective. For people who do not follow rules, people who are out of control, restraining orders are ineffective," said Butts.

She also said a restraining order may provide a false sense of security, and "Unfortunately the severe batterers do not comply with restraining orders."

Doing things such as getting dogs, moving out and getting an unlisted phone number may also help.

"They need to take their own precautions and their own safety measures in order to protect themselves because the police are not able to patrol each and every household who has a restraining order out on a certain individual," she said.

In addition to getting a restraining order, she suggests having people move in to your home with you who can help protect you. You can also ask neighbors to call police if they see the batterer in the area. Make sure they know what the person looks like and what kind of car they drive.

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