A Utah Regulatory Sandbox Entity
Many victims of domestic violence and stalking have limited financial resources, which means that they don't have the ability to retain an attorney to help them with any necessary legal action. However, these victims typically have access to a free victim advocate through a domestic violence service provider or local law enforcement office. These advocates are trained to help victims access services and understand what resources are available to them. Advocates are often the only person who helps victims with protective orders, but they are barred from giving legal advice. This, we believe, results in fewer victims getting the legal protections they are afforded under Utah state law.
We know that these advocates are a tremendous resource, and are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to protective orders. They commonly attend protective order hearings and know a great deal about why orders are or are not awarded and what standards a judge uses to make decisions. But they aren't able to convey this information to clients under current rules, which can result in improper and failed requests for protective orders. This can further discourage victims from taking steps away from abuse.
We want these victims to get the help they need, using the resources they already have access to.
In February 2021, the Certified Advocate Partners Program was authorized by the Utah Supreme Court to operate within the Utah Regulatory Sandbox. In this program, Advocates are able to give legal advice as it pertains to civil protective orders and stalking injunctions in Utah. During our pilot year, we selected a small group of Advocates throughout the State. We provided legal training and, under our direction, they will provide victims with legal services. They are supervised by our Program Coordinator, Hayley Cousin.
We are optimistic that this program will help more victims receive legal protection from their abusers, enabling them time and space to recover and begin the process of moving on to the next step in their lives.
The Certified Advocates began offering services in June 2021.
Below is a complete list of our active Certified Advocates throughout the state.
Teresa Allen, Clearfield City
Karen Arroyo, Layton City Attorney's Office
Coral Busk, New Horizons Crisis Center, Fillmore
Claudia Clark, Salt Lake County, Unified Police Department
Katie Fox, Utah County Attorney's Office
Laura Pepe Grimaldo, Park City, Peace House
Kristin Guthrie, Wasatch County
Amanda Knudson, Statewide, Cherish Families
Haley Mackelprang, Cedar City, Canyon Creek
Devin Shakespear, Kane County Attorney's Office
Alissa Urzi, St. George Police Department
BreAnn Wilkes, Utah County Sheriff's Office
During the first 12 months of operation, our advocates served 106 unique clients and rendered 122 completed services. They assisted in the process of requesting 73 civil relief orders, 65 of which were granted ex parte orders. Of those 65 ex parte orders, only 5 were denied permanent orders at their hearing.
If you have questions about our program, including the development of CAPP and information on applying to a future class of advocates, please reach out to Hayley Cousin, Program Director, at email@example.com.
Legal Assistance Pilot Program Helps Rural Victims of Domestic Violence and Abuse in Utah by Kristi Eaton, The Daily Yonder
Need help getting a protective order? A new program in Utah makes the process easier by Becky Jacobs, Salt Lake Tribune
Utah's Certified Advocates Partners Program Made Possible by Regulatory Sandbox by Maddie Hosack, IAALS