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NCJ Number: 92704 Find in a Library
Title: Civil v. Criminal - The Use of Legal Remedies in Response to Domestic Violence in England and Wales
Journal: Victimology  Volume:8  Issue:1-2  Dated:(1983)  Pages:172-187
Author(s): S Maidment
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 16
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In England and Wales, there has been an enormous legislative and judicial response to the legal problems raised by domestic violence, but all this activity has occurred within the civil law.
Abstract: This diversion of domestic violence out of the criminal law occurs in three ways. Firstly, except in the most serious cases, the police divert 'domestic disputes' out of the criminal process through their refusal to respond or to prosecute. In North America such diversion has in some cases been institutionalised in a more positive way into family crisis intervention, or police mediation and referral procedures. In England it has occurred simply through the unwillingness of the police to treat these cases as crimes of violence. The second mechanism of diversion has been presumably as a response to a popular belief that the criminal law is inappropriate, the provision of alternative remedies in the civil law in the form of the injunction and family protection order. The third element in diversion follows from the first two: i.e. the choice of remedy by the victim -- whether she (as it usually will be) goes to a solicitor or to the police. The conclusion raises two fundamental points: whether the criminal or civil process is suitable as a mode of legal regulation of domestic violence; and who should make the choice of process. Arguments for and against the use of the criminal law are explored, but finally the case is put that victims of domestic violence are entitled to help in making professional principled decisions between the civil and criminal remedies. (Author abstract)
Index Term(s): Civil remedies; Criminal law; England; Spouse abuse statutes; Wales
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