Domestic violence is a complex and problematic matter, one that poses many questions for the criminal justice system, victims, perpetrators, and enforcers and creators of policy. "Compared to other victims of violent crimes, victims of domestic violence can moreover face heightened risks to their personal safety following official intervention and operate within formidable situational constraints." (Ellison, 772) In addition to this, the type of crime has several other aspects that differentiate it from other crimes, and therefore leads to an elevated degree of intricacy and difficulty when classifying, handling, punishing for, and prosecuting it.
[...] “They are torn between their desire to escape the violence and their fear of being isolated in the wider world.” (Hoyle, 21) Other reasons for not prosecuting include “threats to financial security, reluctance to criminalize a partner, hopes for reconciliation, fear of alienation from families or communities, concern for the welfare of children, and a belief that court sanctions are not worth the process.” (Ellison, 761) The partners are often able to influence and dominate the women to cause them to withdraw statements and drop charges. [...]
[...] eliminates incentives for an abuser to resort to intimidation for the express purpose of deterring her from testifying against him in court (it is) also less burdensome for victims Critics specifically argue that the state should not substitute itself for the batterer by taking control of the woman's life.” (Ellison, 767) Other benefits of victimless prosecution might include improved police responsiveness, improved conviction rates, powerful symbolic purpose, and greater state intervention opportunities. “Prosecution offers at least some hope for controlling violence against women and for ultimately reducing the physical injury and related social, economic and personal costs caused by domestic violence.” (Ellison, 769) The crucial component to effective prosecution and victim protection seems to lie in diminishing the dependence on the victims. [...]
[...] climate of acceptance ensures that few will seek the assistance of staturatory agencies and those that do will first have to overcome the conviction that they brought the violence on themselves.” (Maguire, 500) There is considerable debate about the criminalization and prosecution of domestic violence. Why make domestic assault a criminal offense? According to Hoyle and Sanders, there are three reasons. Criminalization serves to serve a symbolic purpose (provide) general deterrence (and to) enable the state to intervene, usually through prosecuting, in order to exact retribution, produce specific deterrence and, perhaps, treat the offender.” (Hoyle, 14) Though some would argue that prosecution should be mandatory and is uniformly beneficial, this is not true. [...]
[...] The main aims of these policies is to reduce the number of domestic violence cases discontinued They are intended to address the problem of victim non-cooperation in the belief that it is in the interests of victims of domestic violence to increase arrest and prosecution rates.” (Hoyle, 17) Pro-arrest policies have their problems. As Hoyle details, Pro-arrest policies rely on some quite uncertain assumptions. Perhaps the most problematic of all these is “that victims have little agency and that the police and policy makers know what is best for them.” (Hoyle, 19) Furthermore, while the intentions of violence reduction are positive, it does not seem that the Pro-arrest policies alone succeed in achieving their goal. [...]
[...] 1990 Circular sought to change this by urging the police to treat domestic violence as seriously ass other violent crimes, and more importantly, to consider pursuing a case even if the victim withdraws her support.” (Hoyle, 16) Two substantial changes, according to Hoyle, have been introduction of pro-arrest policies and, second, the establishment of domestic violence units and domestic violence officers.” (Hoyle, 15) There are two opposing policy positions used to treat domestic violence: pro-arrest and victim choice. I will briefly discuss each of these, to detail their advantages and drawbacks. [...]
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