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NCJ Number: 67029 Find in a Library
Title: CHANGES IN THE LAW AFFECTING BATTERED WOMEN - PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE
Journal: AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TRIAL ADVOCACY  Volume:3  Issue:1  Dated:(SUMMER 1979)  Pages:45-62
Author(s): A D EISENBERG
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 18
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE PLIGHT OF BATTERED WOMEN UNDER PRESENT SOCIETAL CONDITIONS IS COMPOUNDED BY THE FAILURE OF THE LEGAL SYSTEM TO DEAL EFFECTIVELY WITH THIS PROBLEM, AND RELEVANT REFORMS OF CURRENT LEGISLATION ARE RECOMMENDED.
Abstract: BATTERED WOMEN, CHIEFLY ABUSED WIVES, ARE UBIQUITOUS IN AMERICAN SOCIETY. ABUSE SUFFERED BY SUCH WOMEN INCLUDES PHYSICAL VIOLENCE RANGING FROM AN OCCASIONAL SLAP TO A SEVERE BEATING. ALTHOUGH EXACT STATISTICS ON SUCH CRIME VICTIMS DO NOT EXIST, FROM 26 TO 30 MILLION ABUSED SPOUSES ARE ALLEGED TO FIT INTO THE BATTERED WOMEN CATEGORY. MANY OF THESE CRIMES GO UNREPORTED FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS, SOME OF THEM PSYCHOLOGICAL AND SOME OF THEM VERY REAL: THE LATTER INCLUDE INTIMIDATION (FEAR OF FURTHER, GREATER VIOLENCE IF THEY REPORT THEIR AGGRESSORS TO THE POLICE); THE RELUCTANCE OF POLICE TO GET INVOLVED IN THESE SITUATIONS; AND THE INADEQUACY OF PRESENT LEGAL REMEDIES. POLICE ATTITUDES MAY BE PROMPTED BY RESIDUAL SEXIST PREJUDICE, BECAUSE MOST POLICEMEN ARE MALES, AND BECAUSE THE LACK OF SPECIALIZED POLICE TRAINING IN THIS TYPE OF DOMESTIC CRISIS PLAYS A ROLE IN POLICE NONACTION. THE LEGAL REMEDIES OF CRIMINAL COMPLAINT AND CIVIL PROTECTIVE ORDERS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE TO BATTERED WOMEN HAVE FAILED TO HELP AND IN MANY CASES, HAVE WORSENED THEIR SITUATION. SEXUAL ABUSE IN THE FORM OF INTERCOURSE FORCED UPON A WIFE BY HER HUSBAND AGAINST THE WOMAN'S WILL IS NOT CONSIDERED RAPE IN MANY STATES. SOMETIMES THE VICTIMS HAVE BEEN FORCED TO KILL THEIR AGGRESSORS, EITHER TO PROTECT THEIR OWN LIVES, OR THOSE OF THEIR CHILDREN. ALTHOUGH SUCH HOMICIDES COULD BE CONSIDERED JUSTIFIABLE, THE DEFENDANTS WERE SOMETIMES ACQUITTED FOR REASONS OF TEMPORARY INSANITY, BUT THEY WERE ALSO OFTEN CONVICTED AND SENTENCED FOR MANSLAUGHTER. THIS ARTICLE CALLS FOR REFORMS IN CURRENT LEGISLATION TO PREVENT VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FROM BECOMING BATTERED WOMEN IN THE COURTROOM AS WELL AS IN THE HOME.
Index Term(s): Battered wives; Domestic assault; Homicide; Law reform; Laws and Statutes; Police attitudes; Psychological victimization effects; Self defense; Sex discrimination; Sexual assault; Victimization
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=67029

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