Montana Becomes First State in Nation to Introduce Valuable Crime Victims’ Tool
Bullock, law enforcement, victim advocates unveil Hope Card
HELENA – Attorney General Steve Bullock was joined by local law enforcement and victim advocates on Thursday to unveil a new tool to better protect victims of abuse and violence in Montana. This week is 2010 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.
Bullock announced that Montana has become the first state in the nation to introduce the Hope Card, a wallet-sized card that will be carried by someone who has been granted a permanent order of protection — commonly referred to as a restraining order. The cards will contain information about the person restrained under the order — including their photo, name, birth date and other identifying information — along with information about those protected, including children.
“It is without a doubt, that these cards will make incredibly difficult situations for law enforcement and victims more manageable,” Bullock said today. “They are compact and easy to carry, so those protected will be more likely to have them in their possession in dangerous scenarios and law enforcement won’t have to decipher lengthy court documents.”
The Hope Card can be carried in lieu of an order of protection – which are often multiple pages and lack a photo of the person being restrained under the order. Multiple Hope Cards can be issued to schools, daycares and other relevant locations. The card will be universally recognized by law enforcement during incidents involving the violation of an order of protection.
Bullock unveiled the new tool for victims of crime at a ceremony at the Friendship Center in Helena. The Attorney General was joined by Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton, Helena Police Chief Troy McGee, Friendship Center Executive Director Holly Kaleczyc and a local victim that holds a permanent order of protection.
The idea for the Hope Card came from John Oliveira, the National Child Abuse Coordinator and Special Agent with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Justice Services. Oliveira is based out of Billings.
Hope Cards are now available to anyone with a valid, permanent order of protection. Cards will also be available for any children or other individuals covered by the order. More information about the Hope Card and how to obtain one is online.
The Friendship Center in Helena provides a safe haven and a broad range of support services at no charge for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. They serve victims in Lewis and Clark, Jefferson and Broadwater Counties.