A new web portal will allow those in need to file for protection orders in any Kansas county online.
The goal, in part, is to expand access for those who might not be able to get to a courthouse in person to file paperwork, according to a Thursday news release from the Kansas Office of Judicial Administration.
The portal, at kspop.org, allows anyone to complete the process on a smartphone or computer to ask a judge to issue an order of protection from abuse, stalking, sexual assault or human trafficking, according to the release. However, you must be 18 or older to file for a protection order, according to the portal.
Prompts on the site ask questions to determine what kind of petition is needed and what qualifies for each type.
It also directs visitors to resources to find an advocate or to find tribal resources for those who live on tribal land. It offers the option to file a petition for a protection order, which it says takes about 30 minutes.
If the judge issues the order, it will be sent to the filer by email, according to the news release.
District court staff will process filings during regular business hours, and those who need immediate help should contact local law enforcement, according to the release. In Douglas County, those hours are 8 a.m. to noon and 1-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Nearly 12,500 such cases were filed in Kansas district courts in fiscal year 2020, according to the news release.
Testing of the portal began in Harvey, Johnson and Riley counties in December 2020, and Ellis County joined last month.
“No longer do victims seeking a protection order need to worry about bringing the children with them or trying to leave work early to get to the courthouse before we close,” Lanna Nichols said in the release. She is court administrator for the 21st Judicial District, which is composed of Riley and Clay counties.
Since Dec. 1, 2020, 84 people in Riley County have used the portal, Nichols said, and 27 others have filed the paperwork at a courthouse in Manhattan.
The portal was created in partnership with the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, using a federal grant. An additional grant will help the judicial branch send updates to filers via text message or email, create a mobile app, add additional languages to the forms in the portal and more, according to the release.