|Nationwide the problem of domestic violence has been well documented and
research attention to the issue has grown. One useful response to domestic
violence has been the issuance of protection orders. However, the
usefulness of protection orders often hinges on judicial discretion. The
use of restraining orders in combating domestic violence has garnered
increased research attention but there has been little research focusing on
judicial responses toward the issuance and enforcement of these protection
orders. The research conducted thus far on judicial discretion in relation
to protection orders points out that the more willing judges are to issue
protection orders and to also use the law to enforce them, the better served
are the victims of domestic violence.
The main theoretical premise that guided this research was that the biases
and stereotypes embedded in the social structure and cultural dynamics of
mainstream society cause problematic systemic reactions to victims of crime.
To explore the relationship between the biases of dominant society and
systemic reactions, the research focused on judicial self-reported actions
and reactions in the granting and enforcement of protection orders for the
predominantly female victims of domestic violence.
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