A Content Analysis of Civil Protection Order Statutes: What Makes Some State Statutes More Comprehensive Than Others?

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American Journal of Criminal Justice


Utilizing content analysis, the current study examines 2017 civil protection order statutes for all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia to determine their level of comprehensiveness. In analyzing which state’s civil protection order statute is most comprehensive, the following criteria were used: inclusion of (1) gender-neutral language, (2) dating relationships, (3) firearm restrictions, and (4) batterer treatment and/or counseling programs. Two of the items were conceptualized as protective measures for the victim (i.e., use of gender-neutral language and inclusion of dating relationships) while the remaining two focused on the offender and were conceptualized as accountability checks. Findings indicate that the states located in the southeastern region of the country (i.e., South Carolina, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, and Kentucky) were the least comprehensive in their civil protection order statutes. Implications for future research are also offered as well as recommendations for improving victim’s experiences with civil protection orders and the court system more broadly.


Civil protection orders; Content analysis; Domestic violence; Legislation


Criminology and Criminal Justice | Law

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