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NCJ Number: 202295 Find in a Library
Title: Protective Order Legislation: Trends in State Statutes
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:31  Issue:5  Dated:September/October 2003  Pages:411-422
Author(s): Helen Eigenberg; Karen McGuffee; Phyllis Berry; William H. Hall
Date Published: September 2003
Page Count: 12
Type: Legislation/Policy Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study reviewed recent State statutes pertinent to protective orders and compared the findings with a landmark 1988 study.
Abstract: Protective orders have different names in different States; they are sometimes referred to as restraining orders, emergency orders, domestic violence orders, or peace bonds. Victims who seek protective orders usually follow a two-step process. In the first stage, victims can secure a temporary order that typically covers a short time and often relies only upon the petitioner's testimony. In the second step, batterers are notified to appear before the court and can present evidence on his or her behalf. If full orders are granted, judges often have more discretion to apply remedies and stronger sanctions should the order be violated. In the current study, relevant State legislation was examined for all 50 States in 2000. Content analysis was used to identify themes or concepts in the legislation. Issues examined were access and eligibility, filing provisions, burden of proof, temporary orders, full or final orders, mutual orders, and enforcement. The study found that more recent statutes provide greater access to orders, allowing adults to file on behalf of other incapacitated adults and minors to file on behalf of themselves. Compared to 1988, broader definitions of eligibility are present in the laws, as a more diverse group of victims are eligible to file for protective orders. Another new trend is the prohibition against charging fees for law enforcement officers to serve orders, so as to eliminate a barrier to securing orders. There was some indication, however, that there were fewer mandated assistance provisions designed to help persons in completing the filing process. This could deter some persons from filing. On the other hand, other efforts to facilitate filing were the confidentiality of victims' addresses and the issuing of free copies of the order to victims. There was little change in burden of proof from 1988, as most States require that petitioners demonstrate that the preponderance of the evidence supported their claims for an order. Temporary orders have longer duration, and it generally takes less time to move from temporary orders to final orders. Full orders offer the promise of more comprehensive support for victims. Legislators also apparently were more willing to endorse mandatory arrest for violation of orders than were the case in 1988. Finally, there was evidence that legislators were making needed adjustments to State statutes to ensure compliance with Federal models for protective-order legislation. Still, there is a need for policy analysis that can determine what types of reforms in protective-order legislation are most effective. 8 notes and 28 references
Main Term(s): Court procedures
Index Term(s): Domestic assault; Domestic assault prevention; Restraining orders; State laws; State-by-state analyses
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