In Gavin de Becker’s book “The Gift of Fear,” he talks about protective/restraining orders. Here in Florida we call it an “injunction for protection.” He also calls it a factor in the most predictable crime, spousal homicide. Without going into much detail, de Becker talks about the mental aspect the receiver of the injunction (subject) goes through which could put the person getting the injunction (complainant) in grave danger, possibly even more danger than when they were living in the abusive relationship. This is not to say that we are against an abused spouse getting an injunction, it is just saying that when a member of your church produces an injunction against someone in your church, you need to pay special attention to the situation.
We at Generations Christian Church recently had a situation where the subject showed up on property. Trying to take the Christian attitude and reason with the subject, they were advised of the injunction and if they didn’t leave the church, we would contact local law enforcement. While leaving the property the subject located the complainant and proceeded to physically attack the complainant. Fortunately, the complainant was not seriously injured but the subject did get to the complainant before Safety Team Members were able to intervene.
If you or your church ever has a subject on your property that has an outstanding injunction against them, the first thing you should do is contact and inform local law enforcement of the situation. Get them on the way to your location. Tell the subject that local law enforcement is on their way. While communicating with the subject, find the complainant and advise them of the situation and keep them away from the subject. Do not let the subject anywhere near the complainant for fear of an altercation. If at all possible video the incident for both parties’ protection. Even though we want to do the Christian thing and witness to the subject, this is not the time or place. Keep both parties apart from each other and let local law enforcement handle the situation. We were lucky, the subject only physically assaulted the complainant in our incident, the subject could have easily produced a weapon and done serious injury to the complainant. Just as de Becker called spousal homicide from injunctions as one of the most predictable crimes, we must always be on high alert during these situations, and not let what happened to us happen to you while on your watch. Be safe and be blessed.
Jim has many years of law enforcement experience and has run the safety team at his church for several years. TSA was formed after he realized God's calling when multiple churches reached out and asked him to present at their church.