Protective or Not?

Las Vegas Strip, Author David_Vasquez (PD)

Hotel clerk, Danielle Jacobsen, expected a routine shift.  The middle-aged woman approaching her desk looked like any other Vegas tourist.

But Virginia Paris was decidedly out of the ordinary.  Explaining that she had been kidnapped, Paris asked that Jacobsen contact police without alerting her kidnapper who was standing nearby [1A].

“She was like, ‘Uh, I need help.  I’ve been abducted.  I’ve been missing since Friday.  It’s pretty serious, can you please pretend like you’re checking me into a room please and get the cops on the phone and get them here?’ ”

-Danielle Jacobsen on her encounter with kidnapping victim, Virginia Paris [1B]

Despite an Order of Protection, Paris had been kidnapped by her former boyfriend, Joseph Hetzel.  Jacobsen managed to contact Security inconspicuously.  Paris was taken to a room for safety, and Hetzel later arrested.

Orders of Protection

An Order of Protection from Abuse (also, known as a Restraining Order) limits or forbids the subject’s interaction with a particular person.  Such orders commonly arise from allegations of domestic violence, harassment, and/or stalking.

Statistics on Protective Orders have not been publicly available.  But there are thought to be over 1 million in effect in the United States on any given day [2].

Experts disagree on the effectiveness of Protective Orders.  A 2010 analysis in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law concluded that they do serve a role in managing threats of violence [3].

However, an earlier analysis had determined that Protective Orders were violated an average of 40% of the time.  Some women maintain they were beaten for having obtained a Protective Order.

The factors impacting the violation of Orders of Protection are not well understood.  The literature though suggests these include:

  1. Time

Most renewed abuse occurs within 3 months of the issuance of a Protective Order.

  1. Characteristics of the Victim, Abuser, and their Relationship

Women of low to medium socio-economic status are at highest risk of re-victimization.  Drug use by the victim is, also, associated with re-victimization.

The perpetrator characteristics predictive for renewed abuse are prior violence or criminal activity, youth, drug abuse, unemployment or underemployment, and mental health issues.  Race is not a factor.

Children with the abuser greatly increase the chance a Protective Order will escalate violence.  A persistent pattern of abuse is likewise predictive for violation of the Protective Order.

  1. Legal System

The perceived helpfulness of police toward the victim, at the time of the incident leading to a Protective Order, tends to correlate with reduced violation of the Protective Order.  Arrest of the abuser at the time of that initial incident, also, tends to reduce the likelihood the order will be violated.

For the victims of domestic abuse, the decision whether or not to take out an Order of Protection can feel like a crap shoot.  Our lives are not, however, a matter of random chance to God.  His plan is to give us hope and a future…whether we have been to Las Vegas or not.

” ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’ “ (Jer. 29: 11 NIV).

[1A and 1B]  Fox News (with Associated Press), “Hotel clerk recalls rescuing kidnapped woman in Las Vegas”, 9/7/17, http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/09/07/hotel-clerk-recalls-rescuing-kidnapped-woman-in-las-vegas.html?cmpid=prn_msn.

[2]  Across Walls, Communicating with Prisoners – Public Interest Analysis, II Gender Imprisonment, C. Domestic Violence, 2. Criminal Justice, http://www.acrosswalls.org/statistics/restraining-orders/.

[3]  Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, “Do Protection Orders Protect?” by Christopher Benitez, Renee Binder, and Dale McNiel, September 2010, 38 (3) 376-385,  http://jaapl.org/content/38/3/376.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

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11 Comments

Filed under Christianity, domestic abuse, domestic violence, Law, Religion, Violence Against Women

11 responses to “Protective or Not?

  1. Generally, the only time the public hears of a restraining order is when it has been violated. Which seems to happen with increasing frequency these days, at least in Florida. From a distance, I’ve always thought that restraining orders only work if the party that’s been ordered to stay away chooses to obey. Sort of like when I pull up to a stop sign; I know I am supposed to stop, but really it comes down to whether or not I choose to obey the law.

    Obviously, many choose not to obey, which leads me to question their effectiveness. Unfortunately, our justice system does not allow mandatory life in prison for domestic abusers, so they are free to violate an order at will.

    I guess what I’m trying to say Anna is this: if one partner commits an act of violence upon the other partner, they have crossed a line and violated a sacred trust. How does one ever trust that person again?

    By the time a situation has escalated to the point of getting a restraining order, there is usually so much raw emotion involved that the perpetrator has little regard for law. What matters most at that point is revenge in order to maintain control.

    • Very insightful, Ron. Trust may be lost for good. Many times, however, the stormy relationship is resumed. The offending partner may threaten the lives of the children, if it is not. False allegations of abuse are, also, at times made. There are no simple answers.

  2. Great info Anna.. I feel we need more legislation..
    RO’s can be used as a weapon to get even with the innocent.. or in many cases, pleas have been ignored by the legal system, resulting in death..
    Proverbs 15:1 🙂

  3. A must read… Thank you for sharing, dear Anna. Abusive relationships might become unexpectedly violent. It might all start with a bad word and subtle denigration. And then rewards and a presumably caring attitude. It is an infamous cycle, even a labyrinth.
    I admire all those who can move away from such a situation. Most times, if not always, it ends badly.
    Sending love & best wishes 🙂

  4. My advice to those in danger of abuse is to run. RUN to a different place, person and/or purpose if the resources are available. Unfortunately, as you pointed out many of those affected are of low socioeconomic status and the capacity to run is not there. Restraining order is often merely a documentation of report of abuse- a paper that often proves to society that they have failed the victims of abuse when the ultimate damage is already done. At a failure rate of 40% , society is merely mocking these victims. We need to rethink everything.

  5. I am so glad you are creating awareness this way.. Anyone reading will benefit and be alert

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