U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

An Exploratory Study of Juvenile Orders of Protection as a Remedy to Dating Violence

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2010, $300,009)

While there is growing recognition of the prevalence of dating violence and its serious short- and long-term impacts, counter measures are still in their infancy. A number of states have, or are currently considering, expanding civil orders of protection (OPs), a helpful response to adult intimate partner violence, to allow juvenile victims to directly secure orders. Advocates and research both suggest that most juvenile victims of dating violence do not discuss their situation with their parents, and parents are therefore unlikely to secure OPs on a child's behalf even if state law allows them to do so. In July, 2008 the New York State Legislature enacted a juvenile-initiated OP reform statute, which provides an excellent opportunity to examine this cutting edge policy issue.

The goal of the proposed research is to increase our understanding of juvenile OPs by developing a comprehensive portrait of their use in New York, the extent and patterns of re-abuse when they are used, and the factors related to their under-utilization (to date) by teen victims. The specific aims are: 1) to provide a detailed description of the use of juvenile OPs, including who is securing them, against whom, and for what; 2) to determine the courts' response to these OPs, including the specific stipulations imposed; 3) to determine the rate of OP violations or other re-abuse reported to police as well as the victim, offender, incident, and order characteristics that are associated with re-abuse up to two years after the order was first obtained; and 4) to explore with young people across the state in greater depth their perspective about the use of civil OPs.

The quantitative part of the study will be accomplished by merging state data on OPs initiated by petitioners aged 12-18 years across New York State in 2009 and 2010 (approximately 700) with data on order violations, new orders taken out by petitioners for new dating violence, and police incident reports filed across the state in 2011 for abuse involving the same parties.
Qualitative research will include two samples: 1) a statewide sample of juveniles (N=120) representative of the broad diversity of New York's youth, to focus on why these orders are underutilized and how to improve awareness, access, and the details of the orders of protection available to juveniles to better meet their unique circumstances; and 2) a more targeted and opportunistic sample of juveniles (N=48) referred for, or seeking help for dating violence from the only New York City specialty legal services program addressing this issue (Day One) to focus on their actual experience accessing and utilizing protective orders.
In completing the proposed research, the lead agency, Advocates for Human Potential, will partner with the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services, which will provide the quantitative data sets, and with the Cornell University Family Life Development Center and Day One, which have extensive experience assembling teen focus groups.


Date Created: September 19, 2010