Domectic Violence in the United States Domestic Research Proposal

  • Length: 8 pages
  • Sources: 5
  • Subject: Criminal Justice
  • Type: Research Proposal
  • Paper: #54613415

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

Domectic Violence in the United States

Domestic Violence in the United States: A Research Proposal

Domestic Violence in the United States:

Domestic violence is not a new phenomenon associated with modern times. It has been a common occurrence throughout history. From a social/cultural point-of-view, the woman was considered the property of the man and his duty was to discipline her and the children (and slaves/servants) with thorough beatings. Consistent with eighteenth-century English common law, the only concerns about this related to the thickness of the stick that the law allowed for the beatings. Although there were some earlier unenforced laws against spousal abuse, it was only as recently as the 1970s that the U.S. justice system began to view the problem with any seriousness and consideration of domestic violence as a crime. Until that time, social services for the victims of domestic violence were almost nonexistent (Bronfman, et al., 2005).


There have been substantial perspectives and definitions of violence that happens within the family context in the U.S. For instance, family violence covers not just violence among female and male partners or gay partners but in addition child abuse, senior citizen abuse, and sibling abuse. Nevertheless, domestic violence, more purposely, talks about the abuse by one person to his or her partner in a close relationship. These relations can be made up of marriage partners, partners in live-in relationships, dating relationships (Henninger 1986), and also previous spouses, past partners, and ex-boyfriends/girlfriends (Faulkner, 2003). The Department of Justice calls these parties in these relationships as ?intimates. Violence among intimates might take the shape of physical violence, emotional mistreatment, sexual mistreatment, and even aggravated stalking. The intention of the abuse is be in charge of one person over the other. The different forms of abuse are the plans a person utilizes to create such power (Gelles & Murray (2008)).

Removing the de facto exemptions from the criminal law of violence is one way to enhance prevention. The most important shift in morality for the criminal law in recent years has concerned the treatment of domestic violence cases by the police and the criminal courts. The changes being advocated and achieved in this branch of domestic violence policy have little to do with the formal legal definition of criminal conduct the law on the books, and much more to do with the discretion exercised by legal official, the law on the streets (Faulkner, 2003). Shooting, stabbing, or beating a domestic partner has been criminal conduct throughout the twentieth century and for a long time before that. But this formal criminality was undermined by a tradition of nonprosecution of those who committed acts of violence against intimates, unless the injuries sustained in an attack were grievous. The tradition of non-arrest, non-detection, nonprosecution, and non-conviction in domestic violence cases was interpreted by many potential offenders as an implicit license.

For this reason, one major justification for more rigorous prosecution of domestic violence cases was to revoke the implicit license to beat that previous policies conveyed. Did the reorientation of the justice system result in a reorienting of social values? There can be little doubt that hitting and other acts of physical force directed at a domestic partner are more negatively viewed by citizens of every age, gender, and class in the United States of 1997 than they were a generation before.

What is harder to determine is the extent to which the changes in criminal justice policy were a result of changes in attitude that preceded them rather than a cause of increasing social disrepute (Bronfman, et al., 2005). In the intangible realm of attitude and value, it is hard to distinguish occasions when the criminal law is teaching a lesson to society from occasions when policemen and judges are changing their behavior in response to social pressures. The shifting perceptions of domestic violence in the United States after 1965 appear to be a case in which a change in social attitude and political pressure occurred before shifts in police and judicial behavior. But the changes in law enforcement reinforced and underscored the criminality and wrongfulness of domestic abuse, particularly after 1985.

The number of instances in which the criminal law can operate by itself in fashioning changes in citizen morality will be quite limited under a democratic system of government where citizen attitudes can nullify legal initiatives in a variety of ways. It is far more likely that the success stories regarding the use of criminal law enforcement as an instrument of social change will more closely resemble the interactive dance of legal and social changes that occurred in the case of domestic violence (Rennison, 2003).

In these situations, it is not easy to separate and gauge the autonomous collision of the legal changes on conduct. The moralistic power of the law is one of two vague social forces working at the same time on a huge and scattered audience. However saying that the function of the decree is complicated to gauge should not be associates with saying that the criminal law is inconsequential. The effectual criminalization of domestic violence in the United States was among the most significant legal reforms of the late twentieth century. Evidently the changes in approaches that have occurred previously would have been much more difficult to maintain without the moralistic illustration of police and legal sanctions.

One additional problem concerns the kind of domestic abuse most probable to reduce because of attitude changes. The ethical reorientation of domestic violence almost certainly has had a more theatrical primary result on the rates of not quite life-threatening violence than on lethal domestic assault. The cause for this is that the less grave forms of mistreatment had been more broadly endured in the past, sociologically. Shooting and knife attacks on a domestic partner were by no means regarded as insignificant. So a tighter approach of principles will almost certainly reduce the rate of nonlethal abuse above that of lethal abuse. Certainly, if an ordinary cause of lethal argument in domestic violence is a knowable succession from the constant to the life-threatening, either as a continuance of power by the first aggressor or as a response to that force by the first victim, then deadly violence rates may turn down almost at a similar rate to that of nonlethal abuse.


This research paper will discuss at least two behavioral systems that produce more homicides than felonies like burglary and arson, but are not unconnectedly reported by police: domestic attacks and child abuse. Domestic violence comprises a key part of police work in the United States and each of the other urbanized nations. Nonlethal cases number in the hundreds of thousands and victims include about 10% of all killings.

We shall look at how child abuse is a second category of assault not separately reported by the police. While injuries from adult maltreatment of children are not uncommon at all ages, child abuse deaths are clustered in infancy and early childhood when the victims are physically more vulnerable and dropping and beating can more easily cause death. The rates of fatality reported in the American health statistics (0.1 per 100,000 children) are somewhat higher than comparative estimates from other industrial nations. But the differences in suspicious child death rates are nowhere near the differentials noted for the homicide of older victims.

Any transnational comparison of suspicious childhood deaths should be accompanied by a series of warnings about the quality of the available statistics. The line between accident and abuse is a judgment call that may vary over time and also cross-sectionally (Gelles & Murray, 2008). Jurisdictions that focus on the possibility of child abuse in child fatality cases may produce statistics where suspicious deaths are high even though the nation's children are no more at risk than in countries where more casual attitudes toward determining responsibility in ambiguous death cases obtain. Further, death caused by intentional abuse may be undercounted in all jurisdictions because the benefit of doubt is still extended in questionable cases (Rennison, 2003).

But the biases and uncertainties associated with child abuse death statistics are relatively minor compared with the perplexities encountered when examining the civil and administrative statistics on nonfatal instances of child abuse. The passage of mandatory child abuse reporting legislation in most of the United States has been associated with an explosion in reported instances of custodial maltreatment during periods when no significant changes were occurring in the rate of suspicious deaths. It is very difficult to determine the proper interpretation of child abuse reporting data as an index of the violent risks faced by youngsters when changes in administrative rules may have such a tremendous impact on reporting. These problems are compounded by a lack of follow-up investigation to determine the existence and extent of abuse in many cases.

While the rate of fatal child abuse in the United States may not be much greater than that reported in other industrial countries, the rate of domestic homicide in the United States is at least…

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