Orders of Protection: How Much Domestic Violence Do They Deter?

Good question. Incapable of being answered accurately.

Certainly, domestic violence restraining orders tend to help the people who get them.

Tend to help.

The people who get them.

But lots of domestic abuse victims are too terrified to ever consider seeking one.

For instance, eighty-seven percent of New York City’s victims of “family-related” deaths last year did not have an injunction for protection against domestic violence against their abuser.

Even those victims of abuse who are brave enough to seek protection on a temporary basis often lose their nerve for making it last, after their abuser finds out about it. Such temporary orders of protection expire quickly.

Even where the abuse victim is brave enough to ask for protection at a full hearing, the Court will not always issue one for one reason or another.

Even where all of the above hurdles are overcome, sometimes it is very, very difficult to personally serve the abuser with a domestic violence restraining order.

That happens more frequently than you might imagine. At best, this can drag the entire process out and wear the victim (and his or her finances) down. At worst, the abuser cannot be served timely enough and the order of protection expires.

Last year a woman obtained a temporary injunction for protection against domestic violence against a top aide to New York State’s governor. The aide could not be served in compliance with applicable legal requirements (or he was but that was never communicated to the victim).

And then there are the cases where the abuser disregards the order of protection.

Clearly, injunctions for protection against domestic violence leave room for improvement.

Read more in this New York Times article: Case Revives Debate Over Protection Orders.