In the past three years, 49 Kentuckians have been killed by their husbands, boyfriends or former mates – victims of the ultimate form of domestic violence, according to a state advocacy group and news accounts. Only seven of those victims had domestic-violence orders from the courts to protect themselves from their alleged abusers, says the Louisville Courier-Journal. Advocates say there are a variety of reasons that battered women don’t seek protective orders, including embarrassment and fear – and the perception that they don’t work.
Statewide figures indicate they generally do keep abusers at bay: while 23,378 protective orders were issued last year, there were only 3,501 charges for violations of orders. University of Kentucky behavioral science Prof. T.K. Logan and a research team have followed more than 900 cases of people who took out protective orders in rural and urban Kentucky counties since 2002 and found that none in that group was killed. In the most recent segment of that study, funded by the U.S. Justice Department, Logan found that half of 227 women tracked for six months after they took out a domestic-violence order experienced no violations. And among the other half, the women reported significant reductions in “abuse, violence and fear.” Victim advocates say it’s difficult to reconcile those findings with the reality that so few of the victims in the domestic-violence homicide cases reviewed by the Courier-Journal tried to protect themselves with protective orders.