Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $579,986)
Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)-related events are frequently the stated reason for Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs)—perhaps in about one third of cases (Rowhani-Rahbar et al., 2020; Zeoli & Paruk, 2022)—but firearm removal in these circumstances may put the individual experiencing IPV at increased risk if the order is implemented without prioritizing that individual’s safety. This study, conducted by RTI International and informed by survivors and key experts, will learn from survivors of IPV about the key considerations regarding firearm confiscation that impact victim safety, empowerment, and healing, and will explore how key stakeholders view and utilize ERPOs (independent from Domestic Violence Protection Orders [DVPOs] or in combination with DVPOs) as a tool to support victim and community safety. Additionally, this project will explore if and how stakeholders consider victim-identified factors in practice. To accomplish these goals, this study includes a sample of eight county-level sites from four states that vary by urbanicity, region, and ERPO use across the United States. To guide these efforts, we will convene a Survivor Advisory Council made up of people with lived IPV experience. Within each county, survivor interviews will explore their experiences with firearm violence, their decision processes around or knowledge of ERPOs and DVPOs, and key factors to be considered during firearm confiscation in cases of IPV. The research team and members of the Survivor Advisory Council will use these interviews to develop hypothetical scenarios and accompanying interview protocols to be used in subsequent interviews with key stakeholders within each study site. Key stakeholders and law enforcement leadership interviews will explore how law enforcement agencies, victim service providers (VSPs), and other professionals involved at the intersection of IPV and firearm violence view and utilize ERPOs to address IPV. Additional interviews with law enforcement officers will explore their individual experiences and decision-making related to firearm confiscation using DVPOs and ERPOs and strategies they use to reduce risk and increase safety for IPV victims, respondents, the participating officers, and the community at large. The research team and the National Policing Institute will use these findings to develop law enforcement training materials on strategies that align with key victim-identified factors and increase coordination among law enforcement, victims, and VSPs to carry out firearm confiscations. This and other study products will yield findings that are accessible and actionable for victim service and criminal justice practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and the general public.