Domestic violence advocates say protective orders generally work, despite Amber Alert case

MADISON COUNTY, Ind. -- A Madison County father could soon be heading back to central Indiana after police say he kidnapped his three children.

Blake Rindahl waived his extradition hearing in Illinois on Monday. The children were found safe.

Just last month, police said Rindahl's wife went through several court procedures to protect her and her children. Court records show she filed for emergency custody last month, but it's unclear if the order was granted. Then, on June 6, a separate protective order was filed and granted against Blake Rindahl.

Rindahl is expected to face charges for violating the protective order as well as strangulation and battery on his wife.

Victim's advocates said protective orders generally work well to keep victims and their families safe from abusers. At A Better Way Services in Muncie, advocates said they generally see an increase in people needing services after Christmas and during the summer when children are out of school.

When someone needing services calls A Better Way, the first question they ask is "are you safe?" Then, "what can we do to make you safe?" Often, victims are encouraged to file protective orders. To receive a protective order, there does not need to be an active criminal case and a judge generally only takes 24 hours to approve or deny the request. Advocates said most requests are approved.

Advocates said protective orders generally work better than restraining orders or no-contact orders. That's because a suspect who violated a protective order would be arrested and sent to jail immediately.

Filing paperwork is only the first step. Victim's advocate Katie Blankenship with A Better Way said they also encourage women to seek shelter at their location if needed during a pending court case.

"We can bring them into our safety shelter and they can stay with us during that time, so they can have some secure locked doors," Blanekenship said.

Blankenship said many victims may be hesitant to take a case to court or may say a piece of paper won't keep their abuser away, but she said a protective order supports a feeling of safety and security.

"It gives the person who has that protective order, who is that protected person, it guarantees that when the police do get called, that batterer is going to go to jail," said Blanekenship. "Which is going to make you feel the most safe and which is going to help you be safe in the long term."

If you need services, there are many different options. The first step is to contact a domestic violence shelter near you. You can call 211, or you can call A Better Way in Muncie, even if you don't live in Delaware County. They will connect you with services in your area. Their 24-hour crisis hotline is 765-288-HELP.

Some of the services provided include help with filling out paperwork like protective orders. You can also get a new phone number, rides to court dates and a room in the domestic violence shelter for you and your children.