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An Evaluation Of Court System Best Practices For Domestic Violence: Protective Orders

NCJ Number
Kathryn E. Moracco, Ph.D., MPH, ; Julie M. Kafka, MPH, ; Alexis A. Moore, MPH, ; J. Michael Bowling, Ph.D.
Date Published
44 pages

This is the Final Research Report on the findings and design of an evaluation of the implementation and impact of Domestic Violence Protective Orders (DVPOs) administered by North Carolina courts.



This report notes that DVPOs are one of the few interventions that show promise for primary and secondary prevention of intimate partner violence (IPV) against women; however, to date there has been no research on the extent to which best practices in administering DVPOs have been implemented in court systems. The current project, called Courts Applying Solutions to End Intimate Partner Violence (CASE IPV), sought to address this research gap. After describing the processes and procedures followed during DVPO court hearings, this report describes the findings and provisions in the DVPOS granted at hearings and identifies factors associated with denying DVPOs at hearings. The evaluation also conducted exploratory analyses of differences between consent orders and orders granted following evidentiary DVPO hearings, as well as factors that predicted an order going to a full hearing compared to being granted as a consent order. Observations were conducted of a representative statewide sample of DVPO hearings during 2016-17, abstracting data from 347 DVPO case files. Univariate and bivariate analyses were conducted to describe the characteristics of DVPO litigants, hearings, and outcomes. The conditions contained in consent orders were compared with DVPOs granted after a full hearing. Multivariable logistic regression was used to model the odds of a DVPO being denied at a full evidentiary hearing and a case proceeding to a full hearing compared to being granted as a consent order. The findings revealed characteristics of the DVPO litigants, court procedures, case files, and judicial behaviors that have implications for policy, practice, and research pertaining to DVPOs in North Carolina and other states. 14 tables, 2 figures, 48 references, and appended study instruments