Are Restraining Orders Really Working?

Photo by: Bryan Smith

Victims of domestic violence and harassment have the option to file injunctions, or restraining orders, against their aggressor. Some victims have serious concerns over the amount of protection the order provides.

Jessica Pinto, Training & Community Education program director, believes that restraining orders are effective depending on the respondent’s own personal beliefs.

“It really depends on the individual abuser,” said Pinto. “If a specific abuser respects the law, respects law enforcement, and respects authority then they’re going to work.”

According to Safe Horizon,  each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws that make stalking illegal. Each year, more than 3 million men and women become victims of stalking.

Rashaud McKennon, a Tallahassee resident, filed a restraining order against a young lady for stalking and harassment at a summer camp.

McKennon says that if he went to the bathroom, she was there. He also says that he didn’t want to file the restraining order, but was left with no alternative.

“I felt bad that the counselors had to kick her out but I do think it [the injunction] served its purpose,” said McKennon.  

1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, according to Safe Horizon.

Dallas Terry, a  third-year Florida A&M University secondary education student from Atlanta, Ga., received an injunction against him last year by an ex-girlfriend. Terry says that back in October, she filed the restraining order against him and he had no knowledge of the situation or anything wrong that he did to her.

He found out about the protective order after visiting her parents home in Atlanta. Terry feels that restraining orders are ineffective.

“If you were trying to do harm to a person, with a restraining order, by the time they call the police on you it might be too late in that sense,” said Terry. “Even me, it took about 20 minutes for the police to get there just to tell me I couldn’t be there.”

Pinto says that victims of domestic violence wanting to file an injunction on someone should go to the Leon County Courthouse to speak with a Refuge House staff member. The staff would help the victim figure out which civil injunction is right for them.

The Refuge House for Domestic Violence & Rape Crisis provides more than eight programs for victims.

For more information call the 24 Hour Crisis Line at (850) 681-2111.