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.