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Sheri Woodyard (center), chairwoman of the Family Services of Davidson County board of directors, and Julia Toone, Family Services executive director, cut a ribbon Tuesday to mark the opening of the organization’s new Advocates Center at their facility on Greensboro Street Extension [Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch]

Sheri Woodyard (center), chairwoman of the Family Services of Davidson County board of directors, and Julia Toone, Family Services executive director, cut a ribbon Tuesday to mark the opening of the organization’s new Advocates Center at their facility on Greensboro Street Extension [Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch]

Family services debuts new advocates center

October 24, 2017 • By Ben Coley, Lexington Dispatch

One of the primary goals of Family Services of Davidson County is to emphasize the safety of domestic violence and sexual assault victims.

On Tuesday, Family Services revealed an expanded, in-house Advocates Center that effectively puts that goal into action.

Executive Director Julia Toone said that prior to Family Services’ Advocates Center, victims had to file 50B protective orders at the Superior Clerk of Court’s Office in the Davidson County Courthouse.

Now, victims enter Family Services and participate in same-day electronic filing of protective orders. In another room, the victim’s first court appearance is in the form of a video conference with a judge. If the judge approves the order, the victim leaves with a copy of the order and another copy is sent to law enforcement. The center also includes a victim waiting room that’s away from the lobby and behind a closed door.