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Domestic violence and the criminal justice system: an overview.

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1
eerez@kent.edu

Abstract

It is only recently that domestic violence has been considered a violation of the law. Although men have battered, abused and mistreated their wives or intimate partners for a long time, historically, wife or partner abuse has been viewed as a "normal" part of marriage or intimate relationships. Only towards the end of the twentieth century, in the 1970 s, has domestic violence been defined a crime, justifying intervention by the criminal justice system. This article surveys the history of domestic violence as a criminal offense, and the justice system response to woman battering incidents. It first discusses the definition of the offense including debates around the offense definition, and the prevalence and reported frequency of the behavior termed woman battering. It then reviews the legal and social changes over time that have altered the criminal justice system s approach to domestic violence. Next it outlines the responses of the police, and the prosecution of domestic violence. The article also discusses research findings related to domestic violence and the criminal justice system, along with current controversies concerning the justice approach to domestic violence, its law enforcement, and related unfolding trends in the movement to address domestic violence through the criminal justice system.

PMID:
12044215
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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