A central question in the ongoing investigation of New York Gov. David Paterson is whether he pressured Sherr-una Booker to stop pursuing a protection order against his aide David Johnson. While that answer is not yet known, safety advocates do know a lot about the ways those seeking protection orders can be stymied, reports Women’s eNews. Only about 20 percent of the 1.5 million people victimized by intimate partner violence every year obtain protection orders, says a study cited by the Denver-based National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Even when victims obtain these orders, it’s no guarantee they’ll get protection.
Sandra Park of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Women’s Rights Project says police often do not take domestic violence calls seriously. “There’s still this underlying notion that violence perpetrated within the home or within the marriage is somehow acceptable because it’s within the context of the relationship,” Park said. “I think that [notion] is certainly rooted in our history of husbands having control over the marriage and the family.” Significant barriers for women in accessing protective orders were identified in a 2009 study funded by the National Institute of Justice. The study interviewed more than 200 women in Kentucky who had obtained protective orders, as well as law enforcement officials and victims’ advocates.