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NCJ Number: 69294 Find in a Library
Title: HOW THE LEGAL SYSTEM RESPONDS TO BATTERED WOMEN (FROMBATTERED WOMEN, P 79-99, 1979, BY DONNA M MOORE - SEE NCJ-69293)
Author(s): E J PATERSON
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 21
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: AN OVERVIEW OF HOW THE LEGAL SYSTEM RESPONDS TO BATTERED WOMEN IS PRESENTED, TOGETHER WITH PROPOSALS FOR HOW TO RENDER THE LEGAL SYSTEM MORE RESPONSIVE TO AND PROTECTIVE OF BATTERED WOMEN.
Abstract: HISTORICALLY, THE LAW HAS VIEWED WOMEN AS PROPERTY OR AS CHILDREN, AND HAS GIVEN CREDENCE TO THE IDEA THAT WOMEN ARE ALLOWED TO BE BEATEN, THAT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS A SOCIAL PROBLEM AND NOT CRIMINAL CONDUCT. POLICE OFTEN DO NOT RESPOND TO BATTERED WOMEN'S CALLS FOR HELP BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE SUCH CASES SHOULD BE REFERRED TO SOCIAL AGENCIES, OR BECAUSE THEY FEAR THE EXPLOSIVENESS OF DOMESTIC SITUATIONS. FURTHERMORE, THEY JUSTLY CLAIM THAT ATTORNEYS AND DISTRICT ATTORNEYS DO NOT CHARGE ABUSIVE HUSBANDS AND JUDGES DO NOT SENTENCE BATTERERS. DISTRICT ATTORNEYS AND JUDGES GIVE SIMILAR EXCUSES FOR NONACTION AS THE POLICE, BASED ON THE SHARED PERCEPTION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AS A PURELY PERSONAL MATTER, AND OF WOMEN AS TOO LIKELY TO BE INTIMIDATED AND THUS FAIL TO PROSECUTE. HOWEVER, SOME LEGAL SYSTEMS ARE CHANGING. FOR EXAMPLE, AFTER ATTORNEYS IN NEW YORK AND OAKLAND DETERMINED THAT WOMEN WERE NOT BEING AFFORDED THE FULL PROTECTION OF THE LAWS AND OF THE POLICE, BOTH POLICE DEPARTMENTS AGREED TO INCREASE THEIR INTERVENTION AND MAKE ARRESTS OF THE BATTERERS USING THE SAME CRITERIA THEY USE IN OTHER ASSAULT CASES. POLICE DEPARTMENTS, DISTRICT ATTORNEYS, AND JUDGES MUST UNDERGO TRAINING IN DEALING WITH EMOTIONAL CASES, MUST REALIZE THE DISSERVICE THEY ARE DOING TO WOMEN, AND MUST INFORM WOMEN OF THEIR LEGAL RIGHTS IN INSTANCES WHERE ARRESTS ARE POSSIBLE. MORE VICTIM ASSISTANCE SERVICES MUST BE AVAILABLE TO GIVE WOMEN SUPPORT IN FOLLOWING THROUGH WITH PRESSING CHARGES AND IN DEMANDING THAT POLICE MAKE NECESSARY ARRESTS. OVERALL, THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM MUST TREAT THESE CASES AS CRIMINAL ACTS.
Index Term(s): Abusing spouses; Battered wives; Domestic assault; Judicial discretion; Law reform; Police attitudes; Prosecutorial discretion; Women's rights
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=69294

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