PROGRAM SPOTLIGHT: Court and Legal – Shelly’s Story

Harbor House met Shelly*, a survivor who felt trapped in a relationship with a perpetrator who was a law enforcement officer. Her case was complicated by his legal knowledge, shared children, and his threats of suicide. Shelly had previously failed to obtain an injunction due to fear and lack of knowledge about the justice system.

With support from Harbor House and a detective, Shelly decided to meet with advocates at the courthouse. Harbor House created a detailed overview of stalking incidents, including photographic evidence of the perpetrator’s unexpected appearances and abuse of power.

Shelly called Harbor House, excited that her injunction had received an Order Setting Hearing, marking a significant breakthrough as her previous petitions had been denied. However, this order did not yet ensure her safety, so Harbor House helped her develop a safety plan, including safe words and an emergency go bag.

At the in-person hearing, despite her nervousness, Shelly confidently shared her experiences. The judge ruled in her favor, granting a three-year injunction that required the perpetrator to surrender his guns after each shift. This ruling has been transformative for Shelly, who is now working towards a job promotion and saving for a new home for her and her children.

At Harbor House, we offer more than just shelter; we provide comprehensive support including court and legal advocacy services. If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse and could benefit from speaking to our dedicated court and legal advocates, please call our hotline at 407-886-2856 for assistance.

*Name changed to protect identity.