FORT WAYNE – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller was in Fort Wayne on Wednesday touting a new wallet-sized card meant to help victims of domestic violence keep their abusers at bay.
Victims previously had to carry lengthy protection orders with them in case they had to quickly prove to police that an abuser was violating the order. The new cards, known as Hope Cards, eliminate the need for that paperwork, Zoeller said at the YWCA Northeast Indiana. This is something that replaces essentially nine pages of a civil protection order, Zoeller said.
The cards have a photo of the abuser and give the essential information from the protection order. With this information, police throughout the state can check an online registry of protection orders to determine whether an order has been violated, Zoeller said.
Indiana is the third state, along with Idaho and Montana, to institute a program that gives victims cards in place of protection orders.
Verizon Wireless contributed $30,000 to start the program in Indiana. Zoeller said he expects the cost of continuing the program will be minimal and that securing future funding wont be difficult.
A victim who has a protective order that lasts a year or longer in a domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking case can take part in the program. As many as 10,000 Hoosiers may be eligible, officials said.
The cards are free and available now. For more on the program, go to www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/2972.htm.