Do relief from abuse orders really work?

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) A South Burlington woman who police say was shot and killed by her boyfriend filed for protection from him, but she didn't go through with it.

Anako "Anette" Lumumba-Courtesy: Pierrette Lumumba

Annette Lumumba was shot and killed in her home two weeks ago. Police are searching for her boyfriend, Leroy Headley.

Court documents show Lumumba feared for her life and tried to protect herself from Headley with a relief from abuse order but she never finished the process.

Our Galen Ettlin spoke with Kelly Dougherty from the group Steps to End Domestic Violence. She explained relief from abuse orders lay out legal protections on paper to discourage partners from continuing abuse. But sometimes victims don't go through the whole process.

"Things get violent; they blow up. Then, there's typically this honeymoon phase where things get better," Dougherty said. "The abusive partner makes promises, you know, 'This isn't going to happen again and I love you.' And so the victim, out of hope, may back out, hoping things get better."

She encourages anyone in a domestic abuse situation to get help. Watch the video for the full interview with Dougherty. Click here for more on Steps to End Domestic Violence.