A Rural and Urban Multiple Perspective Study of Protective Order Violation Consequences, Responses, & Costs

Grants and Contracts Details


Intimate partner violence affects thousands of women each year and results in substantial personal and societal costs. In response to the need to protect victims, states have established protective orders. However, the actual effectiveness of civil protective order remains largely unexamined. For these justice system policies to be widely endorsed and assertively enforced there needs to be evidence that the policy is both effective and cost efficient. This study addresses these two critical gaps in the research literature on civil protective orders by identifying the factors associated with effectiveness of protective order enforcement, and by assessing justice system costs associated with partner violence, protective orders, and differential responses to protective order violations. This study will triangulate the sources of information (using victim self-reports, key informant interviews, and court data on offenders) in order to address the major questions for this study. Specifically, the AIMS of this study are: (1) To follow 105 rural and 105 urban women at baseline, 3-months and 6-months after receiving a protective order to examine partner violence 6-months prior to obtaining a protective order as well as violations, consequences of violations, the justice system responses, and outcomes of justice system responses 6-months after obtaining a protective order. (2) To describe the civil and criminal system histories and responses to protective order violations using official records on protective order respondents in the cases corresponding to the rural (n=105) and urban (n=105) women who participate in the study. (3) To examine key informant (n=140) perceptions of decision factors associated with responses to protective order violations from four main perspectives: individual victim, police, prosecution, and judges, using bounded rational theory to guide interviews. (4) To identify the primary case, incident, and community characteristics influencing civil and criminal justice system responses to protective order violations in two rural and one urban jurisdiction. And, (5) To examine personal and social costs of ongoing partner violence, including justice system costs, 6-months before and 6-months after a protective order is obtained for 210 rural and urban women to better understand the full spectrum of costs associated with partner violence as well as costs associated with differential justice system responses to protective order violations. This study will advance knowledge about protective order enforcement and costs, and will inform policies and practice to increase the effectiveness of protective orders and ultimately the safety of women threatened by partner violence in rural and urban jurisdictions.
Effective start/end date10/1/057/31/10


  • National Institute of Justice: $650,033.00


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