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Apr 26, 2022

Family Court Outlines Procedures to Report Domestic Violence

The issue of domestic violence is once again at the forefront of public discourse in the wake of two recent incidents in which women were victims of deadly attacks by their spouses.  Following the stabbing death of Tracy Thompson in Calcutta Village last Friday, as well as the stabbing of Vanessa Reyes in Placencia the week before, we turned to the Belize Family Court for an explanation of how orders of protection work. The information shared is useful for victims wanting to know what the procedures are when filing a report against an abusive spouse.  Tricia Collins is the coordinator at the Belize Family Court.


Tricia Collins

Tricia Collins, Coordinator, Belize Family Court

“At the Family Court, we have the procedure whereby if a person is applying for a protection order, if the matter is a severe matter that deems to be for an interim protection order, when they come in they will come to the front desk, they will give their name.  They don‘t necessarily have to give their full name, perhaps they can use their first or last name. They can ask to speak to an intake officer, they will be asked to wait a few minutes for the next available intake officer and once that officer becomes available, they will go in and they will discuss the matter that they are currently facing. So after speaking with the intake officer, they would then, based on the discussion with the intake officer, they will be given their legal options and based on the legal options it would usually be in terms of a protection order that will be underneath the Domestic Violence Act. Under the Domestic Violence Act there are several levels of protection orders that they can apply for. One, like I said in the first instance, is the interim protection order.  The interim protection order is based on a severe case. When I say severe, if that person is hospitalized, if there is a weapon involved that that person is abused by the other person can come to the court can come to the court and apply because they are fearful for their life during that time of the incident or after the incident has occurred. Also, you have whereby you apply for a full protection order. A full protection order, you can find yourself in court within a week, normally that‘s the process because protection orders are a priority for the court because it‘s a matter of life and death and the security for lives. And so, when you get to… you will be given a summons with your court date on that particular day and you will come to court. The court takes care of the rest whereby that person or the abuser is then served that summons.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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