A comparison of civil and criminal orders of protection as remedies for domestic violence victims in a midwestern county

  • Kethineni S
  • Beichner D
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Past research has identified many potential ad- vantages of civil protection orders as a means of addressing domestic violence without invoking an official response of the criminal justice system. Using data from a Midwestern county, this exploratory study provides a comparison of civil protection orders with orders of protection that are filed in conjunction with a criminal battering arrest. We examine the demographic characteristics of the respon- dents/defendants and petitioners/victims, the nature of the abuse leading up to the filing of the protection order, the reasons for filing, the terms of the order, location of the offense, and violations of orders. Our findings reveal many similarities between types of orders, in terms of order stipulations, past abuse histories of petitioners/victims, and respondents/defendants’ likelihood of reoffending. The findings also reveal an important difference in the petitioners’ and victims’ reasons for filing; whereas petitioners in civil cases were more likely to identify emotional abuse as the factor leading up to issuance of the order, victims in criminal cases were more likely to document physical abuse. We discuss these findings in the context of victim preference.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Civil orders of protection
  • Criminal orders of protection
  • Domestic violence

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