Project Passport is an example of communities, in this case states, coming together to problem solve and develop solutions to some common domestic violence issues.
In this particular project, we focused on the issue of full faith and credit of orders of protection. The project was an eight state regional effort. Kentucky is bordered by more states than any other in the country, so we all came together as a region to develop a practical strategy to increase the implementation of the full faith and credit provision of the Violence Against Women Act. The states included Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Virginia. We were also pleasantly surprised when the District of Columbia voluntarily joined the Project
The strategy that we decided to attempt to implement was the development of a recognizable first page for our orders of protection. We decided that since full faith and credit enforcement is really dependent first on law enforcement, and then the courts, this enforcement would be enhanced if orders of protection from all of our border states were readily recognizable to our officer and judges. Having the first page of our orders look alike, or at least very similar, would certainly help an officer, who, at 2:00 o'clock in the morning, is standing there while people are crying and possibly bleeding, is handed an order from a court, an order that he/she has never seen before. We reasoned that if the officer could easily recognize that this was an order of protection, it would increase his/her comfort level in handling the situation, as he/she could just put on his/her "protective order" cap and act to enforce the foreign order just like he/she would if it was an order from his/her own state. We thought that this concept would benefit judges also. The ultimate goal of the Project is for the regional model to be expanded throughout the rest of the country, to enhance the enforcement of orders of protection across all jurisdictional lines.
Each state was contacted to develop a team to come together for a regional meeting. Background statutory information was gathered regarding each state's domestic violence statutes and protective order forms. Kentucky hosted a meeting of team members from each surrounding state to discuss the feasibility of developing a recognizable first page of protection order forms. At this meeting the carious states' forms were compared, the corresponding provisions that all states had in common were identified, and other items all states would like to have, e.g. federal law language, were selected and a template of the first page was devised. Each team then went back to its individual state to work on adoption and implementation of the first page. Approximately nine months after the first meeting, a follow up meeting on the states' teams was held. At this meeting each state gave an update on its progress and a plan for implementation of the overall regional program was finalized. The final phase of the Project was the development of resource materials for the Project and the general topic of full faith and credit.
The Project was an overwhelming success! Seven of the eight states (Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia) have or are in the process of implementing the form in their state. Additionally, the District of Columbia heard of the Project and during a recent form modification also adopted the recognizable first page. Only Virginia decided not to adopt the format of the first page at this time.
The remainder of this page will provide a more detailed overview of the Project - sort of a "how-to" or "how we did it." We hope that you might be encouraged or inspired by the Project and perhaps contemplate adopting the recognizable first page in your jurisdiction. Each step that we make in enhancing the effectiveness of the full faith and credit provision of the VAWA brings us closer to the goal of seamless national protection for victims of intimate partner violence and their children.
After the eight states met as a region and together designed the model template for the recognizable first page, each team went back to its own state to work on getting the concept and the form adopted, or amending their current forms to reflect the first page design. Their stories and their redesigned forms are included in the following links on this page.