Emergency order of protection wasn't enough

By Anna Carrera

Published 04/08 2014 04:53PM

Updated 04/08 2014 06:22PM

Update: 6:11 pm
CHARLESTON -- It's hard to say how often orders of protection are violated because they have to be reported by victims or witnesses. But Tuesday, it was discovered orders of protection were violated 27 times last year in Champaign County. It's happened nine times so far in 2014.

Monday's case was obviously much more severe since the victim was killed. Family and friends say they knew about the rocky relationship between Giberson and Steeples for awhile, but with an order of protection filed, it changed the way the pair was supposed to interact.

"It makes certain things criminal that wouldn't normally be criminal, such as text message, phone calls, coming within certain feet," said Stephanie Thurman, who is a court advocate for the Center for Women in Transition.

Court advocates say they work with victims and do safety planning after orders are filed. They encourage victims to create a support system, making code words or checking in with people on a regular basis so others know they're okay.

Another scary statistic, on average, victims return to their abusers seven times before calling it quits, so advocates say it makes it even more important for families and friends to support them.
Original: 4:53 pm
CHARLESTON -- People across Central Illinois are speaking up after a woman was murdered Monday. The woman had filed an emergency order of protection against her ex-boyfriend a few weeks earlier, but investigators say he's the one who killed her.

It wasn't the first time they had been in the same area. The specifics of the particular order of protection, or how far away he was supposed to be, are not known. But, investigators say Larry Steeples got into a fight at a bar last week because Gina Giberson was there with another man.

That means Monday would have been at least the second time Steeples was near his ex. Like other crimes, it's up to victims and witnesses to report when those orders are violated. Advocates against domestic violence say it takes an entire community to keep victims safe.

"It's important for the police to enforce the order of protection and the states attorney's office to prosecute them and the judges to grant them, so it takes everyone," said Stephanie Thurman, who is a court advocate for the Center for Women in Transition.
Someone violating an order of protection can be sentenced to about a year of jail time. People who have already been convicted of domestic battery, which Steeples had been, could face up to three years behind bars for the first offense. Steeples now faces a lot more than that after being charged with murder.

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