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207661 Who are the defendants in domestic violence protection order cases?
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs) are the most widely-used intimate partner violence (IPV)-related legal intervention in the United States, and there is emerging evidence that DVPOs are effective. However, little is known about DVPO defendants. We examined DVPO case files, criminal record background checks (n=731), and data from interviews with female plaintiffs in a subset of those cases (n=129), in order to obtain information about: 1) sociodemographic, relationship, mental health, and substance abuse history characteristics of male DVPO defendants; and 2) the proportion of male DVPO defendants with a history of IPV-related criminal charges. Half (51%) of the defendants had previous involvement with the criminal justice system for IPV-related offenses, and a substantial proportion had mental health issues (40%) and extensive alcohol and drug use. Plaintiffs reported that 82% of the defendants had consumed alcohol on at least one day during the previous month, and 59% of those men “always or often” got drunk when they consumed alcohol. 61% of plaintiffs reported that their partners had used drugs in the previous six months. Over three quarters (82%) of the plaintiffs had attempted to end their relationship with the defendant at least once; of those, 91% had made multiple attempts. Court personnel should be aware of the high level of violence DVPO plaintiffs are likely experiencing, and the potential danger posed by the defendants, and should ensure that expedited and appropriate civil protection is awarded. Concurrent treatment for substance abuse and mental health issues may enhance the effectiveness DVPOs.
Keywords: Domestic Violence, Violence Prevention
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted the research, analyzed the data and wrote up the results.
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.
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