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Experiences of and responses to domestic violence

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  1. Introduction
  2. The predominant explanation of domestic violence
  3. The most perplexing issues
  4. The policies of arrest, prosecution, and protocol
  5. Problems with pro arrest policies
  6. A system that aimed to prosecute in cases where the victim was reluctant or absent
  7. Conclusion
  8. Bibliography

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. [...]

[...] ?Reducing reliance on victim participation can conversely maximize the range of options available to prosecutors.? (Ellison, 772) The Victim Choice model allows for the victim to choose the path of the future events and to influence and dictate the process of intervention: whether or not to arrest, whether or not to prosecute. As we know, most officers operate by the ?working rules' that ordain a cessation in the intervention if approval and support is not acquired. Furthermore, the working rules equated hostile victims with unwinnable cases.? (Hoyle, 17) Therefore, the victim choice model results in few arrests and even fewer prosecutions. [...]

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