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Civil Protective Order Effectiveness: Justice or Just a Piece of Paper?

NCJ Number
Violence and Victims Volume: 25 Issue: 3 Dated: 2010 Pages: 332-348
Date Published
17 pages

This study examined victim perceptions' of the effectiveness of civil protective orders.


Many victims, victim advocates, and even law enforcement believe that protective orders are "just a piece of paper," suggesting that they do not work or are not effective. This study examined protective order effectiveness by following 210 women for 6 months after obtaining a protective order. There are four main themes that were identified from the study results. First, protective orders were not violated for half of the women in the sample during the 6-month follow-up period. Second, even among those who experienced violations, there were significant reductions in abuse and violence. Third, overall, women were less fearful of future harm from the PO partner at the 6-month follow-up, and a vast majority felt the protective order was fairly or extremely effective. Fourth, stalking emerges as a significant risk factor for protective order violations, sustained fear, and lower perceived effectiveness of the protective order. Implications for practice and future research are discussed. (Published Abstract)

Date Published: January 1, 2010