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Are Restraining Orders Effective?

Updated on April 29, 2012

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.


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    • perrya profile image

      perrya 5 years ago

      Good point, chang!

    • kschang profile image

      kschang 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA

      Restraining orders only work on rational people, as it is completely artificial and arbitrary: don't go near that person. If the person had gone way beyond the creepy point (trespassing, physical abuse, etc.) restraining order is unlikely to have any effect.

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 5 years ago

      I agree. They only work with people who do respect law because of fear of arrest. Not all violators are out to kill, many simply cannot let it go, so they linger, hoping to win them back, meanwhile, making the other party crazy and paranoid.

    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 5 years ago from East Coast

      Dr. Billy Kidd said it best. Recently in a city near me a woman, her mother, and child were killed by her ex. She had obtained a restraining order. My take on getting a restraining order is that it's just a first step in protecting you and your family. It is critical to remember that you are the only one responsible for your safety and the safety of your family.

      If you feel the need for a restraining order, you need to ramp up your security in your home and wherever you go and don't forget the security of your family as well. People can be manipulative, cunning, and brutal. The moment the opportunity is given, the criminals will pounce. Do NOT think for a second that a police officer will be there to stop them! Voted up and useful.

    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      I've worked with some outrageous criminals. They generally laugh at the thought of a restraining order--unless they get angry. I guy told me, "If I am going to kill you, I'm going to kill you. Doesn't matter what you or anyone else says."