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ASU Women and Gender Studies professor receives NIJ funding to further domestic-violence study


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December 21, 2015

Associate professor Alesha Durfee of the ASU Women and Gender Studies program will be advancing her research on domestic violence and social policy with nearly $370,000 in funding awarded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) through its Researcher-Practitioner Partnership program. Durfee’s project, “Investigating the Impacts of Institutional and Contextual Factors on Protection Order Decision-Making,” is a collaborative partnership with the Mesa Municipal Court and the National Center for State Courts.

The two-year project will focus on domestic-violence civil protection orders, which prohibit contact between an abuser and a victim. The project will identify and analyze formal and informal institutional practices (the “context” in which victims file) that may influence the decision of victims to file for protection orders and impact PO hearing outcomes controlling for individual level case and victim characteristics. The results of this research project may be used to help courts more efficiently and effectively process protection-order filings, increase victim satisfaction with the process, ensure equitable access to protection orders, and develop more effective victim outreach and service programs.

“Approximately 36 percent of American women and 29 percent of American men will experience domestic violence at some point during their lifetime,” said Durfee.

“Protection orders are often a last resort for domestic-violence survivors living in fear, and thus my research over the last 10 years has focused on whether survivors are able to access orders when they need them. I’m excited to collaborate with the Mesa Municipal Court and the National Center for State Courts on this project as the integration of researcher and practitioner knowledge and perspectives leads to higher-quality research that is more easily translated into policy and practice.”

NIJ has provided funding for researcher-practitioner partnerships since 2009, allowing for further development of research in criminal justice matters that include parole and probation, police departments, specialized courts and victim-advocacy agencies. Only three researcher-practitioner proposals were funded in 2015.

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