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St. Louis County offering online filing for protection orders

Victims of domestic violence in St. Louis County now may file for orders of protection online.

Previously, in order to obtain an order of protection, applicants needed to come in person to the St. Louis County Courthouse in Clayton, fill out paperwork with the Adult Abuse Office during business hours, wait for a judge to review it and, in some cases, return for a second time.

Applicants now may download the necessary forms at www.stlcountycourts.com, complete the forms on their computers and email them back to the court for review and approval.

The online application process is available during regular business hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, as well as 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.

It will soon be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The circuit is the only one in Missouri and among only a handful nationally to offer the service, according to a news release issued by the court.

According to the release, the court also has established a new domestic violence protocol to ensure that one judge is always on call to exclusively review requests for orders of protection.

Court hearings on orders of protection can be heard remotely, giving victims, respondents, attorneys and witnesses the option of appearing by videoconference.

In-person hearings also are still available to those without access to remote technology.