Are restraining orders, protective orders effective against domestic violence? - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Are restraining orders, protective orders effective against domestic violence?

Royal Kaukani Royal Kaukani
Albert "Toi" Nofoa Albert "Toi" Nofoa
Nanci Kriedman Nanci Kriedman
Carol Lee Carol Lee

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Murder victim Royal Kaukani did have a protective order against her ex-boyfriend, Albert Toi Nofoa, the man who police say allegedly killed her.

What is a protective order, how is it different from a temporary restraining order? And just how effective are they? Hawaii's domestic violence leaders give some insight.

Could Kaukani's brutal murder have been prevented?

Court records show she didn't just have a temporary restraining order (TRO) against him, she had a protective order, effective through 2028.

The difference? A protective order lasts for a longer time.

"The restraining order lasts for 90 days, and the protective order takes its place," said Nanci Kreidman, the CEO of Domestic Violence Action Center.

Kreidman says a TRO is something a person can request from a judge, and it is granted based on the victim's word alone. The victim takes the TRO to police, and police then serve the alleged perpetrator with the TRO. A hearing is set for both sides to appear, and from there, Kreidman says a judge can grant the victim a protective order.

Kreidman says a TRO and a protective order generally have the same conditions.

"Like you have to turn over your firearms, you can't come to my place of employment or to my children's school, you can't come to my home," said Kreidman.

But how effective is it?

"We generally have lot of confidence in restraining orders. And we believe they're very very effective," said Kreidman.

"I think it's very uncommon for a woman with a restraining order to be a victim of a homicide," said Carol Lee, the Executive Director of the Hawaii State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Uncommon, but as in Kaukani's case, the deadly possibility is still very real.

"Short term safety is a little easier to come by. When you're talking about long term safety, then it becomes a little more complicated, particularly in Hawaii where it's a hard to hide, hard to disappear," said Lee.

Lee says restraining or protective orders are as safe as the amount of respect a perpetrator has for the law.

Lee and Kreidman say that's why it's important to go to a domestic violence agency and develop a safety plan at work and at home.

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