Study Finds Permanent Protection Orders Effective for Battered Women

Permanent protection orders effectively reduce the likelihood of further assaults on women by their abusive partners, according to a study in this week’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Researchers at the University of Washington and the Harbor view Injury Prevention and Research Center in Seattle reviewed the records of 2,691 adult battered women who reported incidents with the Seattle Police Department from 1998 to 1999.

Permanent court orders — usually lasting 12 months — made battered women 80 percent less likely to be assaulted during the year the order was in effect. The results contradict previous reports suggesting that protection orders provoke further violence. “I think (these results are) comforting, because I think most of what folks were worried about were the physical consequences… I would definitely encourage women to get [permanent protective orders],” study co-author Dr. Mary A. Kernic told Reuters Health. However, the study also showed that while temporary protection orders — typically lasting three to 30 days — did not affect repeat violence, there were reports of increased psychological abuse, as compared with women without civil protection.

Intimate partner violence affects an estimated 1.5 million US women each year. One-fifth of these women receive protection orders with varying restrictions.

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Associated Press 8/6/02; Reuters Health 8/6/02; JAMA online 8/7/02

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