Online Program

“It's just a piece of paper”: Teen perceptions of orders of protection for dating violence

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 11:10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Jane Powers, Ph.D., Bronfenbrenner Center for Translation al Research, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Mary Maley, MS, Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Deinera Exner-Cortens, MPH, MA, Department of Human Development, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Sara Birnel Henderson, Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, Cornell University, New York, NY
Jennifer Sarah Tiffany, PhD, Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Background: Many states have expanded their laws to allow adolescents to secure orders of protection (OPs) as a remedy for teen dating violence, without requiring parental involvement. However, little is known about adolescents' beliefs about OPs and OP use. The goals of this study were to gain a deeper understanding of youth knowledge and attitudes about OPs, perceived barriers to their use, and possible ways to increase their accessibility. Methods: We conducted 20 focus groups with 181 racially/ethnically diverse youth (55% female; mean age 17.5), from urban, rural and suburban locations across New York State, a state where youth have been able to obtain OPs since 2008. Focus groups were recorded, transcribed verbatim, coded and analyzed for emergent themes. Results: Participating youth had misconceptions about the process and function of civil court OPs. Specifically, they believed that OPs did not improve safety, were not socially acceptable, and were difficult to obtain. Conclusions: Results suggest the need for improved channels of information for youth about obtaining civil court OPs. In particular, basic education is needed to emphasize that civil court OPs can be obtained by people of any age, do not require parental consent, and need not involve the police. Practitioners should develop ecological strategies to address social norms about OP use, including increased structural support for youth, access to judicial advocacy services, and opportunities for peer education and support.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Describe youth perceptions of civil court orders of protection as legal remedies for teen dating violence; Discuss ways to improve access to orders of protection for youth.

Keyword(s): Adolescents, Youth Violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified because I collected, coded and analyzed the data to be presented. I wrote the final report that was delivered to the National Institute of Justice and presented the findings to the NIJ Advisory Committee for this research effort.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.