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Civil Protective Order Effectiveness: Justice or Just a Piece of Paper?

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Abstract:

Many victims, victim advocates, and even law enforcement believe that protective orders are "just a piece of paper," suggesting that they do not work or are not effective. This study examined protective order effectiveness by following 210 women for 6 months after obtaining a protective order. There are four main themes that were identified from the study results. First, protective orders were not violated for half of the women in the sample during the 6-month follow-up period. Second, even among those who experienced violations, there were significant reductions in abuse and violence. Third, overall, women were less fearful of future harm from the PO partner at the 6-month follow-up, and a vast majority felt the protective order was fairly or extremely effective. Fourth, stalking emerges as a significant risk factor for protective order violations, sustained fear, and lower perceived effectiveness of the protective order. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.

Keywords: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE; PARTNER VIOLENCE; PROTECTION ORDER; STALKING PROTECTIVE ORDERS

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1891/0886-6708.25.3.332

Publication date: 2010-06-01

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  • Violence and Victims discusses theory, research, policy, and clinical practice in the area of interpersonal violence and victimization across such disciplines as psychology, sociology, criminology, law, medicine, nursing, psychiatry, and social work.

    The journal's 2014 Impact Factor is 0.858.
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