Civil Protection Orders

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Book Section

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Oxford Bibliographies


Oxford University Press

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Since the 1994 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was signed into law, individuals (namely, women) seeking safety from intimate partner violence have increasingly sought out civil protection orders. Each year, approximately one million civil protection orders are issued in the United States. This means that, everyday thousands of individuals experiencing violence apply for protection orders through the civil court system. Despite being widely considered the most commonly sought-out legal remedy for victims, mainly women, trying to stop violence committed primarily by men, the vast majority of research on domestic violence or intimate partner violence has neglected to study civil protection orders. This article presents a summary of research on protection orders, including the effectiveness of protection orders, the effectiveness of justice system responses and interventions in conjunction with protection orders, victims’ experiences with protection orders (i.e., barriers to help-seeking and experiences both with criminal and civil justice systems), marginalized women’s experiences with protection orders, how victims understand the process of applying for an order of protection, perceptions of court helpfulness (both victim perceptions as well as court/system actor perceptions), advocacy models associated with protection orders (i.e., victim-centered, community-based, and court-based), an assessment of risk for future abuse, and synopses of research on domestic violence offenders and abusers. The resulting literature collected, summarized, and documented herein is notable in breadth and depth, and the focus throughout is on the United States.


Criminology and Criminal Justice; Criminal Justice; Criminology

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