This study compared the effectiveness, enforcement, and cost-effectiveness of civil protective orders (POs) in protecting victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) in rural and urban areas of Kentucky.
Overall, POs awarded in IPV cases saved the State $85 million in a single year when changes in quality of life for victims were included in the cost analysis. When the quality-of-life index was excluded from the cost analysis, IPV victim safety was still positively impacted by POs at very little cost, except in cases that involved stalking. When cases involved stalking during the 6 months prior to the victims obtaining the PO, the PO was significantly more likely to be violated in the 6 months after the PO was awarded, even after controlling for a number of relevant variables. For all of the victims in the sample (106 living in rural areas and 107 living in urban areas), half reported that the PO had been violated by the offender, and even for those who experienced PO violations, the abuse was significantly reduced over time. Regarding the comparison and enforcement of PO violations and enforcement in rural and urban areas, the study found more charges of PO violations were brought against offenders in urban areas than in rural areas during the 6-month followup. Since the study shows that, for most IPV victims, POs reduce violence against them by the abuser and save the State millions of dollars of IPV-associated costs, the study recommends ways that IPV victims' access to obtaining POs could be improved. The study obtained data from the victim sample at baseline and at 3 months and 6 months after receiving a PO in order to examine IPV prior to obtaining a PO and after obtaining a PO. 59 tables, 20 figures, and approximately 160 references