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Tragedies of Domestic Violence: A Qualitative Analysis of Civil Restraining Orders in Massachusetts

NCJ Number
157881
Author(s)
S Adams; A Powell
Date Published
1995
Length
24 pages
Annotation
This qualitative study analyzed 1,000 civil restraining orders issued by the Massachusetts Trial Court during 1 week in September 1994 in order to examine characteristics and dynamics of domestic abuse.
Abstract
The results show that nearly half of restraining orders involve people who have been involved in a dating relationship, while another 34 percent involve spouses and ex-spouses. Fifty-six percent of restraining orders mention a child belonging to the victim, defendant, or both. In 65 percent of restraining order affidavits, the victim reports a history of abuse, including physical abuse, threats, verbal abuse, and property damage, culminating in the current incident. More than one-third of restraining orders are closed within 2 weeks of their issuance; 17 percent of defendants named in a restraining order are arraigned for violation of the order within 1 year. Thirty-two percent of defendants who had an alcohol and drug abuse problem violated their restraining orders, the highest violation rate. 1 figure, 6 tables, and 2 appendixes