Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Angela M. Moe

Second Advisor


Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This research began its evolution as i began with an interest in societal responses to domestic violence. I was curious about protective orders, as they seem to be relied upon heavily by our legal system. As one of the primary responses to domestic violence, I wanted to know whether this type of response was meeting the needs of petitioners. As I read the literature and formed research questions, it became clear that in order to answer the questions I had, I would need to go to the victims themselves. They would be the best source of information on the role of the protective order process in their lives.

Data for this project were collected in the form of 17 semi-structured interviews of female victims of domestic violence who had, at one time, applied for a protective order in response to a physically violent intimate partner (they did not need to have completed it). Subjects were solicited for participation with cooperation of the Domestic and Sexual Assault Outreach Center in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Results affirm previous publications in the area of domestic violence in regard to motivations for protective order filing as well as outcomes thereof. The exploratory results also raise new issues related to rural filing as well as the possible effects of a shelter and counseling programs that emphasize education of victims as well as the larger communities.