Protection orders are an important part of the response to domestic violence in many communities. However, there were some key differences across the sites. In Missouri the statute is fairly broad and allows judges to address a number of issues including custody and child support as part of the order. A number of people viewed protection orders as a valuable tool in Kansas City. Protection orders were a weaker part of Baltimore's response, since they are restricted to people who are currently married, or who have lived together for 90 days over the past year, or who are related by blood, or who have a child in common. Thus, many intimate partners do not qualify for a protection order in Baltimore.
In recent years, there has been a push to increase the identification and reporting of domestic violence by health care providers. Some states have implemented mandatory reporting laws which require health care providers to report domestic violence cases. However, mandatory reporting laws make no difference unless agencies are able and willing to identify domestic violence. Other health care providers have adopted screening policies, even though they are not required to do so by state law. Issues raised by routinizing screening for domestic violence in health care agencies are discussed in Chapter 6. The health care response has also been influenced by broader policies in the health care system. For example, in Baltimore one person felt that the shift to HMOs for Medicaid clients adversely affected mental health services for battered women. This was reported to be an issue in San Francisco as well, where the move to managed care has restricted access to mental health services.