Protection orders on the decline

The Courthouse in Majuro. Court-ordered protection orders in response to women’s motions for help with abusive partners appear to be on the decline.

After peaking at 16 cases filed in the High Court in 2017, the number of domestic violence protection order motions declined significantly the past two years.

After women set a record in 2017 by seeking the help of judges to protect them from domestic violence, it appeared from the first half of 2018 that the 2017 record would be broken. By July, 12 women had filed for protection orders. But from July 18, 2018 through January last year, there were no new domestic violence motions filed by women against abusive partners.

Then in 2019, only six women went to the High Court — a more than 60 percent drop compared to 2017. The first domestic violence protection order was sought earlier this month, and issued by the High Court.

Since the High Court streamlined the process for local residents to seek help from domestic violence, the number of women who came forward to use the High Court increased over four years. It went from zero in 2013 to nine cases in 2014, 10 the next year and 12 in 2016 leading up to the record-setting year of 2017 with 16 protection orders issued.

The majority of temporary protection orders are later “vacated” (dismissed) by the court at the request of the victim. However, the domestic violence case earlier this month ended with a permanent order directing the husband to stay away from his wife.

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