BENTON, La. — Domestic violence victims will be able to remotely file for temporary restraining orders from the safety of the Northwest Louisiana Family Justice Center starting Wednesday.

The new electronic filing method is possible through a joint venture of the 26th Judicial District Court serving Bossier and Webster parishes, the Bossier Parish Clerk of Court’s Office and parish officials.

“This new filing option will allow temporary restraining orders filed from the Family Justice Center (FJC) to be automatically and electronically integrated into the court’s electronic case management system. This procedure allows judges, law enforcement and court staff to share and view docket entries indexed and notated into the system simultaneously from multiple locations,” Clerk Jill Sessions said.

During the ordered eight-week COVID-19 shutdown of the courthouse to the public, attorneys utilizing the E-Filing platform continued to conduct business with the Clerk of Court’s office without leaving their office.

“The hope is that this new opportunity afforded to the FJC will allow those petitioners utilizing their assistance to have a more time efficient experience,” Sessions said.

FJC Executive Director Jeri Bowen said, “E-Filing facilitates faster service, reduces travel to multiple locations, improves public safety, and reduces the risk of harm to victims of domestic violence seeking the one-stop services of the NWLA FJC.”

The Northwest Louisiana Family Justice Center is located about 12 miles from the courthouse.

District Attorney Schuyler Marvin called the e-filing process a “great enhancement to the functionality of the 26th Judicial Court system by using technology to assist victims of domestic violence.”

It is critical that court ordered domestic violence protection orders are entered into the Louisiana Protective Order Registry (LPOR) as soon as possible”, according to Louisiana Supreme Court LPOR Director Ramona Harris. “Digital transmission of petitions for court ordered domestic violence protection will speed the filing process and expedite timely transmission for inclusion in the registry. This will in turn increase victims’ safety as they reach out to the court system for help.”

For more information on the e-filing process, call Sessions at (318) 965-2336 or Bowen at (318) 584-7171.

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