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St. Louis County improves Domestic Violence Court system

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KPLR) - There have been a lot of changes to the St. Louis County Courthouse. Some of the biggest changes have been made in the Domestic Violence Court system.

According to local domestic violence advocates, the space where people would file orders of protection was so small that people were spilling out into the halls.

"Something that people don’t really understand about domestic violence is how dangerous it is for people to actually leave the relationship,” said Domestic Violence Court Coordinator Carey Delargy. “People are coming in at very high risk into a space that wasn’t very welcoming, it was very crowded, it was hot and cramped, they are already in crisis, and trying to fill out some very difficult paperwork.”

Now on the first floor, the area to file an order of protection is eight times larger, has windows, desks to fill out paperwork, and a place for kids to play.

Delargy said another problem was that the family court was on the second floor, so victims sometimes had to share elevators with the abusers to get to the courtroom. As part of the renovations, everything related to the family court is now on the first floor just around the corner from security. The courtroom is now the biggest in the building to give everyone space.