Sexist Terrorism on the Plains: "Re-Inventing" Justice Through the Examination of Judicial Issuance of Protection Orders

Wendelin Hume, University of North Dakota
Laura Smette, University of North Dakota

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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Updated 05/20/2006