Benefits and Limitations of Civil Protection Orders for Victims of Domestic Violence in Wilmington, Delaware, Denver, Colorado, and the District of Columbia, 1994-1995 (ICPSR 2557)
Principal Investigator(s): Keilitz, Susan, National Center for State Courts; Hannaford, Paula L., National Center for State Courts; Efkeman, Hillery S., National Center for State Courts
This study was designed to explore whether civil protection orders were effective in providing safer environments for victims of domestic violence and enhancing their opportunities for escaping violent relationships. The researchers looked at the factors that might influence civil protection orders, such as accessibility to the court process, linkages to public and private services and sources of support, and the criminal record of the victim's abuser, and then examined how courts in three jurisdictions processed civil protection orders. Wilmington, Delaware, Denver, Colorado, and the District of Columbia were chosen as sites because of structural differences among them that were believed to be linked to the effectiveness of civil protection orders. Since these jurisdictions each had different court processes and service models, the researchers expected that these models would produce various results and that these variations might hold implications for improving practices in other jurisdictions. Data were collected through initial and follow-up interviews with women who had filed civil protection orders. The effectiveness of the civil protection orders was measured by the amount of improvement in the quality of the women's lives after the order was in place, versus the extent of problems created by the protection orders. Variables from the survey of women include police involvement at the incident leading to the protection order, the relationship of the petitioner and respondent to the petition prior to the order, history of abuse, the provisions asked for and granted in the order, if a permanent order was not filed for by the petitioner, the reasons why, the court experience, protective measures the petitioner undertook after the order, and how the petitioner's life changed after the order. Case file data were gathered on when the order was filed and issued, contempt motions and hearings, stipulations of the order, and social service referrals. Data on the arrest and conviction history of the petition respondent were also collected.
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Keilitz, Susan, Hillery S. Efkeman, and Paula L. Hannaford. BENEFITS AND LIMITATIONS OF CIVIL PROTECTION ORDERS FOR VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN WILMINGTON, DELAWARE, DENVER, COLORADO, AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, 1994-1995. ICPSR02557-v1. Williamsburg, VA: National Center for State Courts [producer], 1995. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2000. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR02557.v1
Persistent URL: http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR02557.v1
This study was funded by:
- United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (93-IJ-CX-0035)
Scope of Study
Date of Collection:
Unit of Observation: Individuals.
Universe: Women who filed for protection orders in Wilmington, Delaware, Denver, Colorado, and the District of Columbia, between 1994 and 1995.
Data Types: administrative records data, and survey data
Data Collection Notes:
The user guide, codebook, and data collection instruments are provided as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided through the ICPSR Website on the Internet.
Study Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore whether civil protection orders were effective in providing safer environments for victims of domestic violence and enhancing their opportunities for escaping violent relationships. The study was designed to build on prior research that explored the comprehensiveness of relief provided in protection orders, the specificity of the protection order terms, and how well and consistently the orders were enforced. This study looked at other factors that might influence civil protection orders, such as accessibility to the court process, linkages to public and private services and sources of support, and the criminal record of the victim's abuser. At the time of this study, civil protection orders had become available in all 50 states, but many states still placed significant restrictions on their availability and the scope of relief provided in them. This study examined how courts in three jurisdictions processed civil protection orders. Since each of these jurisdictions had court processes and service models that differed from the others, the researchers expected that these models would produce various results, and that these variations might hold implications for improving practices in other jurisdictions.
Study Design: To explore the factors that make civil protection orders effective, the researchers chose three sites for evaluation: (1) the family court in Wilmington, Delaware, (2) the county court in Denver, Colorado, and (3) the District of Columbia Superior Court. The sites were chosen because of structural differences among them that were believed to be linked to the effectiveness of civil protection orders. These structural differences included the court intake process, the level of assistance petitioners for orders received, and the amount of access to court hearings. There were four methods of data collection at each of the sites. First, initial telephone interviews were conducted with 285 women petitioners for protection orders across the three sites approximately one month after they received either temporary or permanent protection orders. Second, follow-up interviews were conducted with 177 of the same group of petitioners about six months later. Third, additional data were collected from the civil case records of petitioners who participated in the study and, fourth, from the criminal history records of the men named in the protection orders. The effectiveness of the civil protection orders was measured by the amount of improvement in the quality of the women's lives after the order was in place, versus the extent of problems created by the protection orders.
Sample: Convenience sampling.
telephone interviews, civil case records, and criminal history records
Description of Variables: Variables about the incident leading to a protection order include what the police did at the scene, whether the police informed the victim about protection orders, and whether the abuser was arrested and prosecuted. Data were also gathered on the relationship of the petitioner and the respondent to the petition prior to the incident leading to a protection order, including their marital status, number of children they had in common, history of abuse, and support sought by the petitioner from doctors, police, lawyers, family, and clergy. Other variables document the provisions that were asked for and granted in the protection orders, including prohibiting contact, threats, phone calls, and visits by the respondent to the petition, requiring the respondent to move out of the home, awarding care of the children or personal property to the petitioner, or requiring the respondent to pay support. Petitioners who filed for temporary restraining orders but did not file for permanent protection orders were questioned about their reasons for not filing. Variables about the court experience cover whether the petitioner had an attorney, whether the petitioner and the respondent to the petition tried to reach an agreement prior to court, and how the judge acted toward the petitioner and the respondent to the petition in court. Other variables document the types of problems the petitioner experienced after filing for the order, including further abuse, problems with the children, and violations of the order. Petitioners were also asked about protective measures they undertook after filing for the order, including changing phone numbers, installing a security system, buying a dog, or changing the locks. Quality of life measures include how safe the petitioner felt after getting the order and whether there was further physical or psychological abuse after the order was in place. Case file data include when the order was filed and issued, contempt motions and hearings, stipulations of the order, and social service referrals. Data on the arrest and conviction history of the respondent to the petition were also collected.
Response Rates: The response rate was 51 percent for the initial interview and 60 percent for the follow-up interview.
Presence of Common Scales: Several Likert-type scales were used.
Extent of Processing: ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:
- Standardized missing values.
- Created online analysis version with question text.
- Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.
- Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.
Original ICPSR Release: 2000-03-21
- 2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.
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