Evaluating the fairness of protection orders

The Effects of Civil Protection Orders on Procedural Justice, System Efficacy, and Safety in Domestic Violence Cases

UD faculty members, Ruth Fleury-Steiner, HDFS, and Susan Miller, Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, received a $300,000 NSF grant aimed at better understanding the experiences of women seeking protection from domestic abuse through civil protection orders. They will examine the perceived fairness of the protection order in Delaware and how that may impact subsequent interactions with law enforcement and the court system.

Partnering with the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and with the cooperation of Delaware’s Family Court, Fleury (PI) and Miller (co-PI) began data collection in the summer of 2014. Since then, more than 50 undergraduate and graduate students from human services, sociology, women’s studies, criminal justice, and political science have conducted structured observations of protection order hearings in Family Court and interviewed survivors of domestic abuse about their experiences in court.

Through this systematic analysis, researchers expect to develop a deeper understanding of current practices and enable court systems and community agencies to improve the civil protection order process.

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