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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 63189 Find in a Library
Title: WIFE BEATING - A PSYCHO-LEGAL ANALYSIS
Journal: CASE AND COMMENT  Volume:84  Issue:6  Dated:(NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 1979)  Pages:14-16,18,20,22
Author(s): D J TRENT
Corporate Author: Lawyers Co-Operative Publishing Co
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: Lawyers Co-Operative Publishing Co
Rochester, NY 14603
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE LAWS GOVERNING WIFE BEATING AND THE ATTITUDES OF LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL IN HANDLING THESE CASES ARE ANALYZED.
Abstract: STATISTICS ON WIFE BEATING IN THE UNITED STATES ARE UNAVAILABLE, BUT LEGAL PROFESSIONALS FEEL THAT IT IS ONE OF THE MOST UNDERREPORTED CRIMES. RESEARCH STUDIES INDICATE THAT OVER HALF OF ALL COUPLES ARE INVOLVED IN SOME FORM OF WIFE ABUSE. CURRENT ATTENTION IS BEING FOCUSED ON THIS PROBLEM BECAUSE OF THE INCREASED AWARENESS OF WOMEN'S RIGHTS AND SCHOLARLY INTEREST IN THE CONSENSUS MODEL OF SOCIETY. JUDICIAL RULINGS IN MEDIEVAL EUROPE AND AMERICA WHICH CONDONED THE RIGHTS OF HUSBANDS TO CHASTISE THEIR WIVES ARE DESCRIBED. U.S. LAWS HAVE VACILLATED BETWEEN PROTECTING THE WIFE FROM INJURY AND PRESERVING THE SANCTITY OF THE HOME SO THAT NO CLEAR CUT LEGAL RECOURSE IS AVAILABLE TO THE VICTIM. POLICE OFFICERS ARE RELUCTANT TO INTERFERE IN DOMESTIC DISPUTES AND OFTEN DISCOURAGE WIVES FROM PRESSING CHARGES AGAINST HUSBANDS. THE VIEW OF THE ABUSED WIFE, LIKE THAT OF THE RAPE VICTIM, AS A PERSON WHO DESERVES OR HAS ENCOURAGED TROUBLE IS COMMON AMONG POLICE OFFICERS, PROSECUTORS, AND JUDGES. CRISIS INTERVENTION PROGRAMS HAVE BEEN USED SUCCESSFULLY TO IMPROVE POLICE TACTICS IN WIFE-BEATING INCIDENTS AND ARE AN IMPORTANT SOURCE OF STATISTICAL DATA. POLICEWOMEN ARE VERY EFFECTIVE IN HANDLING FAMILY DISPUTES. SOME POLICE DEPARTMENTS PROVIDE VICTIMS WITH A CARD DEFINING LEGAL RIGHTS AND LISTING AGENCIES WHICH OFFER ASSISTANCE. ATTORNEYS REQUIRE MORE EVIDENCE TO PROSECUTE A CASE OF WIFE BEATING THAN IN OTHER TYPES OF ASSAULT AND OFTEN REFUSE CASES IN WHICH JURIES COULD ENCOUNTER DIFFICULTIES IN ASSESSING PROVOCATION. JUDGES USUALLY STRESS MEDIATION OR RECONCILIATION AND WILL NOT INCARCERATE A CONVICTED WIFE BEATER. A JUDGE IS MORE LIKELY TO CONSIDER A CASE SERIOUSLY IF A WOMAN CAN SHOW A HISTORY OF SEVERE BEATINGS OR HAS FILED FOR DIVORCE. INJUNCTIVE ORDERS ARE INEFFECTIVE BECAUSE OF A LACK OF POLICE ENFORCEMENT AND DELAYS INVOLVED IN OBTAINING INJUNCTIONS. EXPLICIT LEGISLATION SHOULD BE ENACTED TO PROTECT THE BATTERED WIFE. FOOTNOTES ARE INCLUDED. (MJM)
Index Term(s): Battered wives; Crisis intervention; Laws and Statutes; Police attitudes; Women's rights
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=63189

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