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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 102234 Find in a Library
Title: Ensuring Police Protection for Battered Women - The Scott v Hart Suit
Journal: Signs  Volume:8  Issue:3  Dated:(Spring 1983)  Pages:554-561
Author(s): P W Gee
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 14
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A lawsuit filed in 1976 against the police department of Oakland, Calif., shows how class-action lawsuits can help obtain more effective enforcement of the criminal laws that protect battered women.
Abstract: Scott v. Hart was filed on behalf of a class of married and unmarried women who received either an inadequate response or no response when they telephoned the Oakland Police Department for help and protection against physical abuse from the men with whom they were involved. Goals of the lawsuit were to (1) reverse the police department's policy of avoiding arrests in these cases and (2) educate both the criminal justice system and the public about the problem of domestic violence. The lawsuit resulted in a settlement in 1979 that changed the police department's policy, required the city to obtain support services for battered victims, and ensured changed training and further monitoring of the situation. Recommendations for lawyers considering similar suits are to (1) educate themselves about domestic violence, (2) ask about the police department's written policies and actual practices, and (3) obtain affidavits from battered women who have contacted the police. State courts may be a more appropriate choice than Federal courts for a class-action suit. 35 notes.
Main Term(s): Class action lawsuits
Index Term(s): Domestic assault; Female victims; Police crisis intervention; Police policies and procedures
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