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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 82752 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Under the Rule of Thumb - Battered Women and the Administration of Justice
Corporate Author: US Cmssn on Civil Rights
United States of America
Date Published: 1982
Page Count: 109
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
US Cmssn on Civil Rights
Washington, DC 20425
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This report evaluates the treatment of female victims of domestic violence by the criminal and civil justice systems and various social service agencies. It is based on a 1978 U.S. Commission on Civil Rights consultation, field studies, and public hearings held in Phoenix, Ariz., and Harrisburg, Pa., in 1980.
Abstract: The report examines the roles of police, prosecutors, and judges in spouse abuse cases. An overview of the law covers State civil relief, criminal prosecution, and miscellaneous laws. As of 1980, approximately 38 State legislatures had amended or were considering amending statutes to provide additional victim relief. The report documents the failure of many police departments to recognize and respond to the seriousness of wife abuse. The data also show a widespread prosecutorial practice of treating complaints of family violence differently from complaints involving stranger-to-stranger violence, of erecting barriers to successful prosecution, and of discouraging battered women from pursuing criminal complaints. Judges' failure to impose sanctions commensurate with the offense is examined, as well as the emphasis on the preservation of the marriage over the safety of the victim. The report addresses the use of diversionary programs such as counseling and mediation for channeling complaints away from the traditional criminal process; the extent to which shelters and social services provide support for women unable to make use of the justice system; and the role of legal services. Commission findings and recommendations are provided, as are footnotes and tables.
Index Term(s): Battered wives; Civil remedies; Criminal Justice System Response to Victims; Diversion programs; Domestic assault; Female victims; Judicial attitudes; Judicial discretion; Police attitudes; Police discretion; Prosecutorial discretion; Shelters for Battered Women; State laws
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