“Protective orders” don’t really protect women? Thanks, Scalia!

Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision in the Castle Rock v. Gonzales case removed responsibility of local police departments to enforce restraining orders that protect domestic violence victims from their abusers.
The case centered on Jessica Gonzales, who had a protective order against her estranged husband. When he kidnapped her three daughters, Gonzales called police over and over and pleaded with them to enforce the order, which ostensibly protected her and her children. But officers wouldn’t follow up on her calls for help. In the end, her husband drove himself to the police station and was killed in a shootout with officers there. They found the bodies of Jessica Gonzales’ three daughters in the back of her husband’s pickup truck.
Who really needed protection here? Apparently not Jessica Gonzales. According to the Court, it’s the Castle Rock police department.
Statistics show that protective orders are sought by the victims who need them most. But a two-year study of batterers found that almost half (48.8%) re-abused the victims after a protective order was issued. Police clearly weren’t jumping to enforce these orders, even before the Castle Rock decision came down.
The opinion (authored by my personal favorite, Justice Scalia) means that women will not be compelled to seek restraining orders if they know that police don’t have to enforce them. And more domestic violence victims will be injured and killed as a result.
UPDATE: Amanda at Pandagon on the same.

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