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Report: Wait times triple for Lexington residents waiting for protective order hearings


In 2023, an average of 7 people filed for protective orders involving intimate partner or sexual violence in Fayette County every day, and according to new data from Lexington’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Coalition, many saw longer waits for hearings.

The coalition report, which dug into the demographics of petitioners and respondents, types of abuse reported, and outcomes, revealed a number of trends survivor advocates say need to be addressed.

Spokesperson Stephanie Theakston said the numbers show child support is not being ordered as often as it could. Another troubling statistic, she says, involves wait times.

"The length of time between filing for protective order and receiving a hearing for the final order has tripled over the last several years," she said. "That is concerning to us because that is a time period that a lot of survivors describe as frustrating and confusing. And if they don't receive the Emergency protective order, then they're left without protection until the hearing."

And that can be several weeks to a few months out.

At the top of the coalition’s recommendation list is the development of a protective order intake process that guides petitioners efficiently.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.