Reducing intimate partner violence against women: Evaluating the effectiveness of protection orders




Gist, Julia Henderson

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A prospective, descriptive, repeated measure design study was conducted to measure the severity of intimate partner violence against women when initially applying for a protection order, and 1, 4, and 9 months after receiving the protection order. A consecutive sample of 90 women were interviewed at the Family Criminal Law Division of a large, urban District Attorney's Office using two instruments: Demographic Data Form (DDF) and Severity of Violence Against Women Scale (SVAWS). Of the 90 women initially interviewed, 33 received a protection order and were followed for the remainder of the study. The retention rate for the study was 100% (n = 33) at 1 and 4 months and 85% (n = 28) at 9 months. Of the women, 36.4% were African-American, 33.3% white, and 30% Latino/Hispanic. The women's ages ranged from 18 to 52 years with a mean of 32 years (SD = 9.55). The majority of the women ( n = 22, 66.7%) reported an annual income below $20,000, with 66.7% (n = 22) of them employed at least part-time. The women were almost equally divided between former (n = 17, 51.6%) and current (n = 16, 48.4%) intimates. The SVAWS summated scores for two subscales—Threats of Abuse and Actual Violence. The women reported significantly (p < .001) fewer threats of abuse and significantly (p < .001) less actual violence at 1, 4, and 9 months after receipt of a protection order than for the three months prior to application for a protection order. The effect sizes for threats of abuse and actual violence ranged from 1.61 to 2.22. The results of the study indicated that referral of victims of intimate partner violence to the civil justice system to obtain a protection order is an effective intervention to reduce threats of abuse and actual violence.



Health and environmental sciences, Social sciences, Domestic violence, Intimate partner, Protection orders, Violence, Women