Just how much good does a restraining order do?

PORTLAND, Ore. - Jessie Cavett filed a restraining order against her husband, Josh, in August.

Last weekend, police say, Josh shot Jessie in the head.

So, just how much good does a restraining order do?

Painstaking to obtain, restraining orders can help police keep an aggressor at bay - but they're not effective in all instances.

"There's really a daunting set of paperwork and it's really scary to lay out the scariest moments of your life and bring them in front of a judge," said Annie Neal of the Multnomah County Domestic Violence Office.

Only about one in five domestic-violence victims go through the process of getting a restraining order, and obtaining one is usually a sign the situation has grown worse.

"By the time someone applies for a restraining, order, it's usually not the first incident," Neal said.

Experts say if a victim feels a restraining order isn't adequate, they should take additional steps. Telling loved ones what's going on or going to a shelter can be a good start.

In Cavett's case, three different women filed restraining orders against him over the years, including Cavett and another ex-wife.

The threats Cavett's wives reported are eerie.

"Josh has repeated the torture he wishes to do to me and his family members as well," wrote Jessie Cavett.

"Hit me in the head while holding my baby," wrote his previous wife.

The third restraining order was filed by Josh Cavett's stepsister.

Though they're not completely effective, restraining orders can still be worth the trouble, Neal said.

"Most who apply for a restraining order, they report six months later, they are experiencing much less abuse," she said.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233.