Is There a Protection Order to Prison Pipeline? Gendered Dimensions of Cross-Petitions

Alesha Durfee, Leigh Goodmark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


There is extensive debate about whether criminal justice responses are appropriate or effective in helping domestic violence (DV) victim/survivors achieve safety. Supporters argue that criminalization best protects victim/survivors; others have expressed serious concerns about the unintended consequences of criminalization. Victim/survivors (especially women of color) are routinely made more vulnerable by the legal resources designed to help them. They are often arrested with or instead of their abuser, prosecuted for DV as “victim-defendants,” and reported to governmental agencies such as child protection services and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Even the protection order system may not provide safety, especially when abusers are able to obtain protection orders against victim/survivors. We examine one facet of the “abuse-to-prison” pipeline–cross-filings for protection orders. We analyze 313 cross-filings for protection orders, comparing them to 1,004 single-filings. We find that cross-filings are a gendered phenomenon, with men more likely to be involved in cross-filings than women, and men less likely than women to report the types of abuse that qualifies for an order. Cross-filings may be an example of abusers leveraging the legal system to extend control over victim/survivors, rendering victim/survivors ineligible for resources and making them vulnerable to arrest and other forms of state control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-490
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021


  • Intimate partner violence
  • criminalization
  • domestic abuse
  • domestic violence
  • gender
  • legal abuse
  • social policy
  • victim-defendants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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