​The influence of plaintiff gender on the judicial decision to grant civil restraining orders: a replication and analysis​​

AuthorKingsnorth, Rodney F., Lynne Wolcott and Kaitlyn Lonnquist
Title The influence of plaintiff gender on the judicial decision to grant civil restraining orders: a replication and analysis
Source Violence Against Women, May2013, Vol. 19, No.5, pp 579-601
Date 2013
Document type Journal article
SummaryIn this article the authors discuss in depth two key studies that analysed the role of plaintiff gender in the decision to grant or deny civil restraining orders: Basile (2005) and Muller et al (2009). The study of Muller et al (2009) was replicated by the authors in order to test the validity of their conclusions. For the current study 310 restraining order requests, with equal numbers of male and female plaintiffs, were obtained from filings in Sacramento County. Results found that there were differences by gender with 90.3% of female plaintiffs compared to 76.8% of males receiving orders but this was a smaller effect than in the 2009 study. It was further concluded that the influence of gender may reflect legally insufficient descriptions of abuse in the cases involving male victims rather than a gender discrimination by judges. Many restraining orders were denied because of insufficiency of facts and it was found that female cases were considerably more detailed. The authors conclude that the assertion by Muller et al (2009) that it was not very likely that male plaintiffs who request a TRO will ultimately receive a permanent order as misleading and suggest that male plaintiffs who appear at a hearing will ultimately receive a permanent order. The authors further question the claim that judges relying on stereotypes of female aggression discriminate against male plaintiffs when extending the protection orders.
Keywords Restraining orders; gender discrimination; intimate violence; female aggression
Topic Male victims; Domestic violence