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Restorative Justice and Domestic Violence

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Restorative Justice has the twin goals of restoring to the victim what has been lost….e.g. dignity or control, and b) achieving a resolution between both parties in conflict (ifemenist.com). When it comes to domestic violence there are few various approaches used to restoring justice to the victim. Techniques such as therapy, negotiation and community involvement is use to end the violence. As for ending domestic violence Restorative Justice is the collective name giving for these approaches. We all know that Restorative Justice will not work for everyone, and it will definitely not work in situations where the abuser has no remorse. Therefore I want to explore the positive and negatives of trying to restore justice to domestic violence by way of Personal Protection Orders (PPO’s). Personal Protection and Restraining Orders Personal protection orders (PPO) is an order signed by a Circuit Court Judge that forbids or restricts a person from doing something. When use for domestic violence it forbids an abuser from neither harming someone nor committing further abuse on a victim. Though restraining orders have been found to be less effective then orders of protection, many victims consider them helpful when documenting that the abuse occurred (Violent Relationships, p.105). These orders usually prohibit communication, contact, harassment and physical nearness (Ingham.org). This paper will explore various downfalls of Personal protection and restraining orders.
Causes leading to PPO’s and Restraining Orders Most women cook, clean, and take very good care of their family and treat their husband or significant other like a king, so why would she fall victim to domestic violence? There are woman of many different cultures, living a daily life of domestic violence. Some are wondering what did they do wrong, some are taking the abuse to keep the family together and some have reached the “enough is enough” point and they are not going to take it anymore. Victims of domestic violence spend sleepless nights, from fear of wondering if you as the victim are going too beaten or battered when you fall asleep. Stress while working, from the fear of wondering if your abuser is going to come up to your place of employment and not only embarrass you but, beat you in front of your co workers, or is your abuser waiting for you to get off work to abuse you in the parking lot or out in public. Women, whom are from foreign countries and reside in the United States, live with the fear of being deported and being disowned by their family members from not following family tradition or beliefs. Women face losing their children to the state, becoming unemployed, homeless and dependant on welfare for support if they retaliate, wanting to get out of the abusive situations but yet not knowing what the consequences may bring. To embarrass to tell anyone what’s going on at home and too ashamed to seek help from family and friends. In today’s world one can never expect not to become a victim of domestic violence. Women become victims of domestic violence every five minutes. I know that many women sit and wonder each and every day is it worth leaving. Many of them come to the conclusion that it is worth leaving, but then comes the problem of how? How will I get away from the abuse, can I get help can or will the legal system help me out of this. Most women fear seeking help from the law, because police often fail to take action or are defensive. Some women feel that nothing is going to happen to the abuser anyway, or that the legal system just isn’t going to work for them. This is where some women choose to go and file for a Person Protection or Restraining Order. Protection orders give victims an option other than filing a criminal complaint (Violent Relationships, p.105). A victim has to establish reasonable cause to obtain a PPO ( Ingham.org) also any victim that has been emotionally, physically or sexually harmed or threatened by someone that they have been married to, lived with ,have a child with or dated can get a PPO. To qualify for a Restraining order you must institute one of the following relationships with the respondent 1. Current or former spouse 2. Current or former dating relationships 3. Reside or resided in the same household and 4. Have a child in common (Domestic Violence, p.385). These orders are supposed to prevent further physical or verbal violence to a victim from a person (Violent Relationships, p.104).Women normally seek protective or restraining orders after suffering severe levels of violence, including physical assaults, choking and beating, stalking, sexual violence and comparable victimization. Court System So many times we are scared to make the initial step to resurgence because we are afraid of the legal system. There have been some cases where the batterer is let off with a slap on the wrist and later murders his victim (Stop Domestic Violence, p.143). Past experience of a victim with the court system may contribute to the awareness that it will neither stop the violence, nor offer sufficient protection from injury (Domestic Violence). Victims are also discouraged by how time consuming and difficult the process is for obtaining a protective order. There are also numerous uncertainties about the court’s intervention (restoring justice), some include but are not limited to: 1.Complex court proceedings 2. Discourteous court employees, 3.Vague, easily manipulated court orders 4.Court employees’ disbelief that abuse is occurring 5. Court orders that require the abused person to cooperate with the abuser or to have regular or physical contact with the abuser 6.Failure of courts to appropriate sanctions for domestic violence offenses (Domestic Violence, p. 20). Although a victim does all that is required to get a protection or restraining order most respondents continue to pursue and stalk their victims whenever they chose to. So many lives have been lost under the flawed system. I must admit that the domestic violence protection and restraining order laws need to be stiffer. Within the criminal mindset and the determination of some individuals to end domestic violence, protection and restraining orders need to be backed up even more so by individuals who have chosen to uphold the law. The state needs to stiffen up on law enforcement officials that are slapped with a protection or restraining order. Personal feelings and opinions should never play a part in responding to a call from a woman when it comes to domestic violence. Many women feel that their experience with protection and restraining orders are not worth the paper that it’s printed on.
Violations
Most respondents disregard protection and restraining orders. Studies have acknowledged numerous of cases where the respondents appear to more likely disobey protective orders. In cases where the woman is separated from the respondent protective order violations usually occur, also where the women have children with the respondent, and women in short term relationships. Violation of a PPO is punishable by criminal or civil contempt sanctions. According to the State of Michigan Thirtieth Judicial Court the penalties for violating a PPO: carries a -Maximum 93 days in jail and/or maximum $500 fine. It also subjects the respondent to warrantless arrest and criminal or civil contempt sanctions.
Downfalls of PPO’s and Restraining Orders A PPO may order a respondent not to: Enter your property (Domestic Violence, p.386) a property in which the victim and the respondent may have obtained together or solely belongs to the abuser. How can a PPO terminate a person from coming to a home that is rightfully his? A respondent may consider his home his castle; this in itself can cause grave danger to a woman. The home may be the only place the respondent has to go. The respondent feels as if he has been stripped of his rights. This also can cause destruction of the property, break-ins and arson. The respondent may feel that if he can’t live or sleep in his own home why, should anyone. A PPO may order a respondent not to: Threaten to kill or physically harm you. Assault, attack, beat or wound you (Domestic Violence, p.386). Unless calls are recorded and traced to a respondent that has threatened to kill you, is there any way that a victim can say that they were threatened? A respondent can have someone else to threaten you, by way of letters or notes, and today by fraudulent e-mail and text messages on none registered phones. The same with physical harm, a respondent can not only have someone else physically abuse you, they can themselves and without witness, or have an alibi to verify that they were in another place when the physical harm occurred. A PPO may order a respondent not to: Remove children from you if you have court – ordered custody or interfere with your efforts to remove your children or personal property (Ingham.org). This is why there are always several Amber alerts so many missing children and parental kidnappings. Keeping a respondent from his child or children only makes matters worst especially when the child or children are too young to understand what is going on. The respondent can flee with the child or children, never seeing the respondent again. When it comes to personal property a respondent may tell you that it has been destroyed or use the children for in exchange for the personal property. A PPO may order a respondent not to: Contact you by telephone or send you mail (including electronic mail) (Ingham.org). The problem with no phone contact is that anyone can use a payphone or public phone line to contact a victim. Private calls are use so that one won’t know whose calling. Also there are several cell phones that you can just purchase to use and buy talk time, one can make calls without being traced. IP addresses are very easy to obtain, so are fake e-mail addresses. A PPO may order a respondent not to: Interfere at your place of employment (Domestic Violence, p.386). The respondent may call your co-workers of whom he was not ordered not to interfere with, to harass them or have anonymous deliveries sent to you daily. A PPO may order a respondent not to: Purchase or possess a firearm. Though the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997 prohibits those with domestic violence protection orders filed against them from carrying or owning guns (Violent Relationships, p.100) a respondent can still obtain a gun off the streets illegally. Protection orders cannot prevent a respondent from having a gun in their possession.
What can be done to restore justice?
The Criminal Justice System is in vast need of Mandatory arrest. In the year of 1970 a number of class action lawsuits were filed on behalf of battered women. This was an attempt to force local police departments, prosecutors, and other criminal justice agencies to apply the same standards of protection and law enforcement to intimate violence that were assumed to be applied to strangers ( Buzawa,p.33).Though mandatory arrest, prosecution, and sentencing of male batterers has been criticized by some as “disempowering” to women victims (Ford1991). To put it honestly, it is more disempowering for the victim to be re-abused, even killed (Buzawa, p. 210). Mandatory arrest should be applied to all domestic violence and violators of protection and restraining. Protection and restraining orders should carry a three strikes rule based on a 12 month period, the first violation within a twelve month period should carry a mandatory 90 days in jail, the second violation within a twelve month period should carry a mandatory 180 days in jail and the third violation should be known as the third strike and carry a mandatory two years or more depending on the severity of the violation. A third violation should give some kind of an indication that the abuse is going to be an ongoing problem. The prosecutor should possess full authority to be the one who files charges. This will decrease the number of petitioners who out of fear keep filing for repeat petitions. It will also strengthen the CJS control over prosecution, increase the number of batterers convicted and held accountable for their actions, establish spousal abuse as a crime, force domestic violence cases to be taken seriously, and protect the community as a whole.
Conclusion
There is no way of determining if protection or restraining orders are effective. Surveys and numerous studies have been conducted and some victims disapprove of the orders and some do not. Through my experience the protection order did not work for me, I was stalked for quite some time then shortly after I thought that the stalking had ceased, my car windows were busted out and my home was burnt down. Of course the respondent had a valid alibi for the prosecution, and what anger me was that there was no way to prove that he was the corporate. At any rate a violation of a protection or restraining order should bring firm punishment. Violations don’t convey firm punishment; therefore they do not discourage defendants. If the police arrest the person at the time of the occurrence that led to a protective or restraining order, the probability of severe domestic violence abuse may decrease. The law must institute a major going rate for protection and restraining order violations. It is really unfortunate that protection orders have worked in favor of the person committing the crime than the victim. The CJS needs to recognize domestic violence as a crime and it carry more serious repercussions for order violations.

References
Brown, L. Dubau, F., & McKeon, M. (1997). Stop Domestic Violence, An action plan for saving lives (1st ed.). New York, N.Y.: St. Martin’s Press.
Buzawa, E. S., & Buzawa, C. G. (Eds.). (1996). Do Arrests and Restraining Orders Work?. Thousand Oaks,CA: Sage Publications,Inc.
Domestic Violence ,A guide to civil &criminal proceedings (n.d.). Lansing,MI
State of Michigan, Thirtieth Judicial Circuit (n.d.). Personal Protection Orders. Retrieved October 5,2008, from http://ingham.org
Wexier, B. (2003). Violent Relationships, Batterring and abuse among adults. Farmington Hills,MI: Gale Group,Inc.…...

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