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Evaluating the Efficacy of Protection Orders for Victims of Domestic Violence

NCJ Number
Women & Criminal Justice Volume: 15 Issue: 1 Dated: 2003 Pages: 33-54
Amanda Burgess-Proctor
Donna C. Hale
Date Published
22 pages
This study analyzed the effectiveness of protection orders for victims of domestic violence, as well as offers a literature review, a brief examination of three evaluative domestic violence measures, and the application of domestic violence theories.
Studies examining the utility of protective orders for victims of domestic violence have been relatively scarce. In addition, investigations into the effectiveness of protection orders have in the past provided minimal information. Understanding how victims experience the protection order process, how and why police officers make decisions about enforcing protection orders, and what behaviors serve as risk factors for re-abuse will aid battered women in ending their victimization. The purpose of this study was to gauge the effectiveness of protection orders for victims of domestic violence. Prior to this analysis protection orders in the academic literature are presented, as well as a brief examination of the investigative measures stated above, and the application of domestic violence theories. The study attempted to empirically determine whether protection has equal efficacy for female victims of two forms of domestic violence: common couple violence (low-grade, mild abuse) and patriarchal terrorism (severe mental and physical abuse). The data used were from an existing dataset and the sample consisted of 285 women who received their protection order in 1 of 3 geographic areas: Delaware, Colorado, and Washington, DC. The analysis hypothesized that protection orders would be less effective for women who experienced patriarchal terrorism than for women who experienced common couple violence. The results indicate that whether a woman experiences common couple violence or patriarchal terrorism, the type of relationship violence is not a good predictor of protection order violation. The analysis indicated that women who lived with their abuse partners at the time of the protection order were less likely than other women to experience a violation of their protection orders. The analysis also indicated that African-American women were less likely to experience a violation of their protection orders. Future research needs to recognize that victims of domestic violence do not share identical experiences with abuse relationships or experience the protection order process similarly. References and appendix