Faculty Publication: Effects of Intimate Partner Perpetrator and Victim Race on Protective Order Determinations

Margaret Stevenson, Associate Professor of Psychology, has published an article titled “Effects of Intimate Partner Perpetrator and Victim Race on Protective Order Determinations,” published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence with co-author Alexandria P. Winstead from the University of Evansville.


The legal granting of temporary and permanent protective orders prohibits a perpetrator from engaging in contact with the victim. Although protective orders reduce risk of re-abuse, very little research has explored factors that predict the likelihood that a victim is granted a protective order.  We conducted an archival analysis on data previously collected from a Protection Order Assistance Office in a midwestern region of the United States, testing the influence of victim and perpetrator race on protective order allocations. Specifically, we coded data gathered from 490 petitioners (i.e., victims) seeking a protective order against a perpetrator of intimate partner violence, stalking, or sexual offending. Analyses revealed that racial minority victims were significantly less likely to receive a temporary protective order compared to White victims – effects that were exacerbated when the perpetrator was White (versus racial minority). These results are in line with existing research and theory regarding aversive racism. Implications for theory, policy, and practice are discussed. 

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