- Politics and Social Issues
Are Restraining Orders Effective?
They are almost always a placebo for the person getting it. The false sense of security that someone will be kept away at arm's length for a period of time. Usually, the proof that a restraining order is useless occurs during a divorce gone bad and one party is overly possessive and angry to keep away. Many times, the battle zone are their kids or property. So, one party goes and gets the paperwork to show just cause that they are in real danger physically and pleads the case to a Family Law judge. The judge is in the position of damned if you do, or don't. Is the person seeking it full of BS and wants payback or is it legitimate. The judge knows that odds are even if the order is issued for an boyfriend or Ex to keep 500 yds. away, it will NOT happen. Divorces can create monsters out of great people, otherwise. Property and kids simply magnify it.
The police know all this also. They do not give it high priority because many times it is BS. They arrive and the violator of the order is long gone. Domestic issues are the ones police dislike getting in the middle of because it appears they are taking sides. Police usually will not arrest a violator the first time and they will not usually pursue them days later.
The best thing a restraining order may do is create a fear in the party being kept away and that they could get arrested. But, that does not always happen during bitter divorces or other situations where emotions take over.
Recently, in Petaluma, CA., a woman got a restraining order from her EX. The divorce was bitter and kids were at issue. Nothing had happened up to this point and when the wife went to see her attorney, the EX was waiting nearby. He quickly killed her with his gun and then took his own life all while the attorney witnessed it from a window! Now, thier two kids are parentless.
This happens frequently. The only way to make them effective is for police to arrest them either at the scene, once the call is placed, or police pursue violators days after. Many times, the victim is taken by surprise and confronted before they can summon police.
Restraining orders sometime provoke even more irrational behavior. It is like an act of defiance to break a court order and many deliberately do it knowing knowing happens.