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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 98173 Find in a Library
Title: Restraining Order Legislation for Battered Women - A Reassessment
Journal: Unversity of San Francisco Law Review  Volume:16  Issue:4  Dated:(Summer 1982)  Pages:703-741
Author(s): J L Grau
Date Published: 1982
Page Count: 39
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This examination of current restraining order laws that provide a civil remedy for battered women considers problems regarding their implementation and effectiveness and recommends both legislative and informal methods to aid the battered woman.
Abstract: Civil restraining orders are the most widely used remedy for wife beating. Battered women frequently prefer obtaining a restraining order to initiating a criminal prosecution, and they evaluate restraining orders as effective in preventing further abuse. However, studies indicate that restraining orders are neither as effective nor as readily available as is generally believed. In many States, women who would like to obtain a restraining order cannot because they are unmarried or do not live in the same household as the assailant. Certain types of abuse, notably psychological abuse and usually rape, are not covered by restraining order provisions. Required procedures regarding venue, filing the petition, and filing fees may impose other barriers. Civil contempt, the most frequently authorized sanction for violation of restraining orders, is not a viable means of enforcement. Finally, studies have shown that restraining orders rarely prevent further abuse. The effectiveness of restraining orders could be heightened by legislation that increases access, improves procedures, and imposes criminal sanctions for violations. Another solution is broadening legislative coverage through the enactment of criminal restraining order provisions and criminal wife beating statutes. The prosecution of wife beaters might be increased by (1) pursuing prosecution when a victim requests dismissal except in unusual circumstances, (2) using victim advocates to help the battered woman cope with the criminal justice system, and (3) assuming prosecutorial responsibility for initiating charges. In addition, greater understanding of family violence and of the battered woman's special predicament will promote more effective use of available remedies. The paper contains 206 footnotes.
Index Term(s): Crime Prevention International Inc; Crime specific law reform; Spouse abuse statutes
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