TRO_Express: a court companion
Sami Wilson | July 13, 2017

Tro_Express, created in an AnnieCannons class by a student, was designed to help those going through the legal process of getting a restraining order. It’s a complex and emotionally taxing process and can be even more difficult when other factors are involved, such as language barriers and issues regarding child support and custody. As a result, many are dissuaded from moving forward because it is an impersonal and alienating experience. That’s where TRO_Express comes in: the app seeks to reduce anxiety during an emotionally taxing time by helping the user secure a temporary restraining order in a timely manner and navigate the process that follows.

Who will use it

The app asks preliminary questions to make sure that it will be the most useful step at this stage in the user’s  journey. It will ask if they have a lawyer, if they speak English, if they are safe and a resident of Alameda County, and if they have kids.

TRO-Express’s target users are English-speaking residents of Alameda County who are survivors of domestic abuse and are currently in a safe situation. Those who are not in a secure situation should use a domestic abuse hotline and seek emergency shelter.

How it works

TRO_Express is a four pronged app that will include:

  1. A swipe guide that gives an overview of things to keep in mind, such as if you have kids.
  2. A general event flow and timeline. There are so many variations that are unique to each case, but it will offer a basic expectation of the process.
  3. A legal dictionary, as many of the forms use legal jargon that may be confusing.
  4. A condensed and refined temporary restraining order form that is easier to understand. Then, the app will input the information from the condensed form onto the actual legal form and will send them a pdf of the completed form.

Vision for the future

We hope to see TRO_Express succeed in providing aid in Alameda County so that we can partner with organizations like the Family Justice Center and eventually become integrated with points of entry in the courthouse. Ultimately, TRO_Express would expand to other counties in the Bay Area and would be available in additional languages.

Though TRO_Express is still in progress, we are aiming for the big picture – making legal aid accessible and attainable. The students at AnnieCannons use their technical training to create real solutions to real problems, like TRO_Express.