Domestic Violence Victims' Advocate

The Domestic Violence Victims’ Advocate is responsible for assisting victims of domestic violence through court procedures and working with City prosecutors. Lorena Lacey is available by phone at (614) 237-9802.

The Victims’ Advocate is in Franklin County Municipal Court for each court date, including arraignments. She is assigned to all Domestic Violence and Violation of Protection Order cases that happen in the City of Whitehall. 

Court is generally a three-phase system: 

1. Arraignment

  • Arraignment court takes place at 375 S High Street in downtown Columbus. Courtroom 40. Once the offender has been arrested, he/she will typically be seen in arraignment court the following morning, including Saturday. Court is closed on Sunday.
  • The offender will enter a plea to the charge. This plea is almost always "not guilty".
  • The judge sets bond.
  • The judge can issue a recognizance bond which requires no money to be released, an appearance bond which 10% is required or a cash or surety bond which means the entire amount is required or the offender can hire a bail bondsman. 
  • This is the best time to get a protection order. If you want to get a protection order you must be in court, unless you are in the hospital. Please be in court at 9:00 a.m. 

If you are not sure what day the arraignment will take place please call our Victims’ Advocate at (614) 237-9802.

2. Pre-Trial

  • The case is assigned to a permanent judge.
  • The prosecutor and defense attorney exchange information and discuss the case.
  • The victim will be interviewed by the Domestic Violence Victims’ Advocate.
  • The offender can either continue to plead "not guilty" or the offender can plead "guilty’’ to the charge or a lesser charge if that is offered by the prosecutor. If the offender continues to plead "not guilty" the case will be continued and go on to the next phase.
  • If the offender enters a plea the victim has a right to make a statement in open court, to the judge. The victim is not required to make a statement. 

3. Jury Trial

  • The offender can continue to plead "not guilty". If the offender continues to plead "not guilty" the case will go to trial. The guilt will be determined by a jury or by the judge if the offender waives a jury trial. 
  • This court date can be continued several times. 
  • The offender can also plead guilty at this stage to the charge or to a lesser charge if that is offered by the prosecutor. 

Helpful Resources

For a full list of community resources, please visit our Community Resource Directory


614) 224-HOME (4663)
If in immediate danger, call 9-1-1
Lutheran Social Services CHOICES provides counseling, shelter, crisis intervention, education and Legal support and advocacy to Central Ohio residents facing domestic violence. Not only does CHOICES have a temporary shelter for women and children, it is one of the most comprehensive programs in the state, offering a wide range of services for victims and survivors of domestic violence. CHOICES provides a crisis and information line that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Directions for Youth & Families 

(614) 251-0103
3616 E. Main Street
Whitehall, Ohio 43213
Directions for Youth & Families (DYDF) is a resiliency-oriented, trauma-informed mental and behavioral health nonprofit organization. DFYF works with families and young people to help them identify strengths and learn new skills that lead to healthier decision-making. With the ultimate goal to achieve success in their lives, families and youth work with staff to address many issues including school concerns, delinquency, violence, mental health issues, child abuse/neglect, sexual abuse and substance abuse.

Mount Carmel Crime and Trauma Assistance Program (CTAP)

(614) 234-5900
CTAP offers evidence-based, trauma-specific services to children and adult victims, survivors, and co-survivors of crime and trauma. In doing so, we create and utilize safe spaces and trauma-informed care practices that help victims take steps toward healing.

Ohio Attorney General Victims of Crime Compensation Program

If you or your family members are innocent victims of a violent crime, financial assistance may be available. The Victims of Crime Compensation Programs pays for a wide range of expenses such as medical counseling bills, work loss, and funeral expenses.

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    Michael T. Bivens

    City Attorney
    538 S. Yearling Road
    Suite 102
    Whitehall, OH 43213
    Ph: (614) 237-9802
    Fx: (614) 237-9953

    Brad Nicodemus
    Assistant City Attorney

    Kylie Keitch

    Leslie Clark


    Lorena Lacey
    Domestic Violence Victims' Advocate
    Ph: (614) 306-4777

    Julie Harris
    Legal Assistant

    Rachel Boyce