The literature indicates that witnessing domestic violence is harmful to children, that there is a high overlap between domestic violence and child abuse, and that safety is an important issue for separating women because separation from abusive partners is a particularly dangerous time for victims of domestic violence. Further, child custody is often a contentious issue in domestic violence cases. Child custody evaluations are typically used to assist courts in deciding custody when custody is disputed and when the best interests of the child are unclear. The concept of “best interests of the child” does not specify evaluation techniques or approaches, however, and while custody evaluation standards generally address the best interests of the child, they offer little guidance in high-risk situations such as parental domestic violence. In addition, there has been limited research focused on understanding the custody evaluation process or the degree to which practitioners differ in their procedures and reporting for cases with and without parental domestic violence. This study is one of the first to examine characteristics of disputed custody cases and their custody evaluation reports for differences between domestic violence and non-domestic violence cases. This study selected a 60% random sample of cases with custody evaluations in Fiscal Year 1998 and 1999 (n = 82 cases). Out of the 82 cases, 56% (n = 46) met criteria for classification into the domestic violence group and 44% (n = 36) did not. In general, results indicated that although there were some important differences in court records between cases with and without domestic violence, there were only minor differences between custody evaluation reported process and recommendations for the two groups. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
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- Go to article: Risk Factors in Arrest of Rural and Urban Female Victims of Intimate Partner Violence
This study used a sample of women who obtained protective orders (N = 709) from urban and rural communities and identified risk factors in arrest for victims of intimate partner violence 12 months after the protective order was obtained. Lower social support, higher loneliness, living in a rural community, substance abuse/dependency, a history of prior arrest, engaging in illegal behavior, and younger age were all identified as significant predictors of arrest at follow-up. The findings highlight the need for support and resources in vulnerable populations to reduce the risk of offending and recidivism. Implications for reentry programs and services for victimized women at risk are discussed.
This study examined stalking prevalence, patterns, and harm among 210 women with civil protective orders (PO) against violent male partners or ex-partners. Results suggest that stalking is associated with PO violations and almost every other type of partner violence. Also, women who have been stalked by violent partners report significantly more distress and harm than even women who experience PO violations but not stalking. Results of key informant perceptions suggest many victim service (n = 116) and criminal justice professionals (n = 72) do not seem to understand the extent or gravity of the harms caused by partner stalking especially when contrasted with victim reports of harm. Furthermore, key informant reports of their advice to women being stalked by an ex-partner were not consistent with recommendations for stalking victims in general.
There is a limited but growing literature which suggests that stalking is a variant of intimate violence. The purpose of this study was to examine physical, psychological, and stalking victimization and perpetration among males and females. Alcohol use was also examined. The sample was 46 male and 84 female undergraduate students who reported stalking victimization and perpetration after a difficult breakup, and psychological and physical victimization and perpetration during that specific relationship. Overall, 27% of the sample study was classified into the stalking victimization group, which is consistent with other stalking prevalence rates among college samples. For females, stalking victimization was significantly associated with physical and psychological abuse victimization. For males, stalking victimization was significantly associated with psychological abuse victimization. However, there was also a strong significant reciprocal relationship of stalking and psychological abuse victimization and perpetration, especially for males. Also, alcohol use was significantly associated with victimization and perpetration of stalking and psychological abuse for males. The data from this study contribute to the hypothesis that stalking is a variant of or extension of intimate violence, especially for females. Implications and recommendations for future research are discussed.
- Go to article: The Impact of Partner Stalking on Mental Health and Protective Order Outcomes Over Time
The goals of this article are to examine stalking victimization over time among a large sample (n = 662) of women who received a protective order against a violent partner and to examine the impact of stalking on mental health and protective order outcomes. Findings suggest that stalking is a significant risk factor for other forms of partner violence (e.g., psychological, physical, and sexual violence) and that the experience of being stalked by a violent partner contributes uniquely to women’s perceptions of psychological distress, personal safety, and perceptions of protective order effectiveness. Both the criminal justice system and victim service representatives need to be vigilant in educating women about the increased risk of stalking to their safety and mental health. Further, study findings suggest that stalking must be addressed to prevent future physical and psychological harm in partner violence cases.
Many victims, victim advocates, and even law enforcement believe that protective orders are “just a piece of paper,” suggesting that they do not work or are not effective. This study examined protective order effectiveness by following 210 women for 6 months after obtaining a protective order. There are four main themes that were identified from the study results. First, protective orders were not violated for half of the women in the sample during the 6-month follow-up period. Second, even among those who experienced violations, there were significant reductions in abuse and violence. Third, overall, women were less fearful of future harm from the PO partner at the 6-month follow-up, and a vast majority felt the protective order was fairly or extremely effective. Fourth, stalking emerges as a significant risk factor for protective order violations, sustained fear, and lower perceived effectiveness of the protective order. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.
Intimate partner violence is a significant health problem for women, with consequences extending to work as well as society at large. This article describes workplace interference tactics, how women cope with violence at work, and workplace supports for a sample of recently employed women with domestic violence orders (DVO; n = 518). Results indicate that violent partners used a wide range of work interference tactics, that women were more likely to tell someone at work about the victimization than they were to hide the information, and that coworkers and supervisors provided a range of supports to women who did disclose their situation. Implications for further research and practice are discussed.
- Go to article: Stalker Profiles With and Without Protective Orders: Reoffending or Criminal Justice Processing?
Research indicates that stalking is an extension of intimate partner violence. The overall purpose of this study was to better understand stalkers by examining the association between a protective order history and the court’s processing of subsequent stalking, and to examine patterns of reoffending. This study examined a sample of 346 males who were charged with stalking in 1999 in one state. Subjects were partitioned into three groups: (1) males without protective orders; (2) males with one prior protective order; and (3) males with two or more prior protective orders. Almost two-thirds of the stalkers had a protective order against them at some point in the study, suggesting that stalking is associated with intimate partner violence. Results also found a linear trend with many of the criminal justice involvement variables and protective order history prior to 1999. Those charged with first-degree stalking were more likely to be found guilty initially, and about one-third of all three study groups had the initial felony stalking charge amended. Of those charged with second-degree stalking, only 7% of the group with two or more protective orders was initially found guilty, which was substantially less than the other two groups. And, when all the amendment dispositions were considered, there were no significant differences by group in guilty and dismissed dispositions for the index stalking charge. Further, consistent with previous criminal justice involvement, the group with two or more protective orders was more likely to have subsequent felony charges than the other two groups. Implications are discussed.
- Go to article: Cumulative Victimization, Psychological Distress, and High-Risk Behavior Among Substance-Involved Women
Cumulative Victimization, Psychological Distress, and High-Risk Behavior Among Substance-Involved Women
This research addressed two questions: (a) What is the relationship between different patterns of cumulative victimization and psychological distress? And (b) How does the pattern of cumulative victimization and psychological distress influence women’s engagement in substance- and sex-related risk behavior? Data were analyzed from interviews with 149 sexually active, crack-using women who completed a follow-up interview after participating in the Kentucky National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) AIDS Cooperative Agreement. Findings from the multivariate analyses indicated that victimization accounted for 5% and 39% of the variance in psychological distress and high-risk behavior, respectively; cumulative victimization and psychological distress accounted for 6% to 11% of the variance in the high-risk behaviors. Results highlight the affects of childhood and adult victimization on psychological distress and the associations between different types of psychological distress and risk behavior.
- Go to article: A Mixed-Methods Examination of Sexual Coercion and Degradation Among Women in Violent Relationships Who Do and Do Not Report Forced Sex
A Mixed-Methods Examination of Sexual Coercion and Degradation Among Women in Violent Relationships Who Do and Do Not Report Forced Sex
Although partner sexual abuse is clearly an important dimension of partner violence, it has received less research attention than partner physical and psychological abuse. This article contributes to the literature by examining similarities and differences in coercive and degrading sexual tactics experienced by women who do (n = 31) and women who do not (n = 31) report forced sex using quantitative and qualitative data. The women in the sample had all been recently (within the past 6 months) stalked by a violent intimate partner. Results suggest that both women who do and women who do not report forced sex experience various coercive and degrading tactics within the context of sexual activity. Results also suggest that multiple sexual abuse dimensions should be considered within the context of partner psychological abuse, physical abuse, and stalking and that more research on understanding the outcomes associated with dimensions of sexual abuse within the context of physical and psychological abuse is needed.