Domestic violence experts: Protection orders require additional security measures

November 12, 2018 - 7:38 am

The murder of a Kansas City woman could be a cautionary tale for victims of domestic violence, because the victim had an order of protection in her pocket when she was found dead.

The object of 40-year-old Tabitha Birdsong's court order is also the suspect in her death, estranged husband Gene Birdsong.

Gene Birdsong, 42, is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action. He had already served jail time for failing to keep his distance. He has two convictions for battering his wife.

Potential victims of domestic violence are encouraged to take extra precautions. 

 Maryanne Metheny, CEO of Hope House, said her clients are told to change their driving routes so as not to be too predictable. 

Another good idea is to create a network of friends or family and come up with a "safe word," that can be used as a code to ask for help, Metheny said.

"If you text or call someone with the safe word, then they know that you're in trouble, and they will call the police for you," Metheny said.

Legal experts say all violations of protection orders should be carefully documented. Co-workers and the employer's security personnel should be notified of potentially volatile situations.

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