Domestic Violence Term Paper

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domestic violence laws. The writer defines domestic violence on a federal level as well as a Michigan state level. The author also provides insight to the Michigan state laws and programs when it comes to domestic violence issues. It wraps up with suggestions about how to change and improve the current domestic violence laws so that they offer even more protection. There were eight sources used to complete this paper.

Domestic violence is a topic that draws heated debates in many circles. Before one can understand all of the ramifications of domestic violence one needs to have a general knowledge of what it entails. The most violent type of domestic violence ends in the death of the victim. This is called femicide. Femicide is the murder of a woman at the hands of her current or former lover. Femicide as well as other aspects of domestic violence have become a global problem (BC Femicide Report - 2002 Penny Bain and Kelly Watt (http://www.bcifv.org/resources/newsletter/2003/fall/femicide.html).

In 2001, 69 wives were killed by their husbands in Canada, 17 more than in 2000. (Statistics Canada, 2001) Research indicates that femicide is the single most common form of murder perpetrated against women, accounting for between 30 and 60% of all murders of females in a given year (Brown, 1987; Campbell, 1986; Frye and Wilt, 2001; Mouzos, 2000; Polk, 1994, Wilson and Daly, 1992) (BC Femicide Report - 2002 Penny Bain and Kelly Watt (http://www.bcifv.org/resources/newsletter/2003/fall/femicide.html)."

Experts have studied the events surrounding domestic violence for many years. There are several factors that experts now know are triggers for domestic violence in situations where this may occur. Some of the factors that are often found in perpetrators of domestic violence include:

historical events, developmental experiences, personality characteristics, life circumstances

These factors have been found to increase the perpetrator's desire to commit domestic violence.

Perpetrator demographics: In the United States, men who commit homicide, including intimate-partner femicide, are likely to be poor, young, and members of a minority group (BC Femicide Report - 2002 Penny Bain and Kelly Watt (http://www.bcifv.org/resources/newsletter/2003/fall/femicide.html)."

Domestic violence perpetrators are more likely to own guns as well. In addition, many domestic violence perpetrators have criminal records.

Michigan has strict laws pertaining to the definition and prosecution of domestic violence offenders. Michigan law defines domestic violence first and foremost as a criminal act. Michigan has adopted a law that states domestic violent perpetrators will be prosecuted with or without the victim's assistance. In other words if the police are called to the scene of suspected domestic violence and they find evidence they are bound to make an arrest (Domestic violence laws work only when enforced (http://www.record-eagle.com/2001/oct/100301.htm).There was a time in U.S. history that police had to receive statements from the victim and the victim had to press charges for an arrest to occur.

It became a vicious circle because a victim of domestic violence is often afraid or intimidated by the abuser, and that in turn prevents them from speaking out. In addition victims of domestic violence often have had their self-confidence stripped away and their friends and family cut out of their lives so they are left feeling they have no where to turn but the abuser. These elements create a mindset in which the victim is afraid to speak out against their abuser. Michigan's law allows the law enforcement agencies to arrest and prosecute domestic assaulters without the pressing of charges by the alleged victims.

Domestic violence affects more than the women who are abused. In addition Michigan recognizes the fact that children who live in homes where domestic violence exists also suffer from the situation.

Millions of children are exposed to domestic violence each year, and even those who are not themselves abused may be physically harmed when they try to protect parents or are caught in the crossfire (Addressing the Effects of Domestic Violence on Children (http://www.casanet.org/library/domestic-abuse/effects.htm)."

Studies have shown that children who grow up witnessing domestic abuse are 50 times more apt to commit domestic violent as an adult. Children of battered women are also more likely to become victims of other types of abuse as well including verbal, emotional and sexual.

Michigan answers these reports with a law mandating that domestic violence issues be examined any time there is a child custody or visitation question in its courts.

Domestic violence laws used to only protect those who were in a marriage or a live in relationship. Today however many states have incorporated their domestic violence laws to include dating only relationships. This means that victims who only dated their abuser, but did not live with or marry the abuser are protected by the same laws that their married and live in peers are protected by (Overview of Legislative Issues (http://www.ncvc.org/ncvc/main.aspx?dbName=DocumentViewer&DocumentID=32671).

Michigan domestic violence laws have been designed to encompass many different areas of the problem. One of the things the law allows is the use of personal protection orders. Personal protection orders are designed for the purpose of protecting victims of domestic violence. For the victim to get a personal protection order the victim must prove to the court that the person they are seeking the order against present a danger to them without the order of protection being granted.

The victim must demonstrate to the circuit court that there is reasonable cause to believe that the person they are seeking the order against may commit one or more of the acts. An attorney is needed to present this complaint to the circuit court. The request must state specific incidents of assaults / and/or threats, and may describe injuries sustained and names of witnesses (Domestic Violence Laws in Michigan (http://www.cityofmarysvillemi.com/police/Laws%20in%20Michigan.htm)."

There are several things that an order of protection can protect the victim from at the hands of the assailant. It allows the court to take away what may be considered personal freedoms of the perpetrator, which is why just cause for the order must be shown before the order will be granted.

Personal protection orders can prohibit the assailant from:

assaulting, beating, molesting wounding entering on to the premises removing minor children from the individual having legal custody threatening to kill or physically injure a named person (7/1/94) interfering with the victim at herplace of employment 4/1/95 engaging in conduct which impairs the victim's employment relationship or environment 4/1/95 any other specific act that imposes a restraint upon the victim's personal liberty or causes a reasonable apprehension of violence. 4/1/95 (not until 4/1/96) Purchasing or possessing a firearm (Domestic Violence Laws in Michigan (http://www.cityofmarysvillemi.com/police/Laws%20in%20Michigan.htm)."

Michigan has also designed and adopted domestic violence laws that provide victims of such crimes with protection and programs. The law defines the victim as someone who has had a direct threat, injury, or emotional harm done to them by the abuser.

Victims are allowed and encouraged to seek financial compensation for their victimization as well as receive counseling or other programs to help them work through and move past what has been done to them (Domestic Violence Laws in Michigan (http://www.cityofmarysvillemi.com/police/Laws%20in%20Michigan.htm).

Victims Seeking Help Assured of Confidentiality {MCLA 600.101 (1985)}

Victims of sexual assault and domestic violence who seek the services of workers at sexual assault or domestic violence crisis centers have the protection of law that the counseling sessions are confidential and not admissible in the court without the victim's written consent (Domestic Violence Laws in Michigan (http://www.cityofmarysvillemi.com/police/Laws%20in%20Michigan.htm)."

On April 1, 2002 Michigan adopted its largest and most comprehensive domestic violence law package in its history. The package included many laws that are aimed at increasing the safety of survivors of domestic violent victims. Victims are often fearful of their abuser and do not believe that they can get away from him. They believe that their abuser will track them down or that the law will not protect them from the abuse. The new package was aimed at providing added security and safety to those who find themselves in the middle of a domestic violence situation or have escaped domestic violence.

The package also added the following to its previous laws:

Protects women in dating relationships;

Honors personal protection orders (PPO) issued by other states;

Calls for written explanation for denial or approval of PPOs involving non-relationship stalking cases;

Allows courts to consider out-of-state domestic assault convictions in determining sentencing;

Authorizes the creation of state and local fatality review teams to examine homicides resulting from domestic violence (New Domestic Violence Laws Take Effect in Michigan (http://www.futureofchildren.org/information2827/information_show.htm?doc_id=70501);"

Creates uniform standards for tracking domestic violence crimes -- by calling on the MI State Police to develop a standard report for domestic violence crimes.

CHANGES NEEDED

While the Michigan laws are solid and aimed at protecting the victims there are still changes that should be made to strengthen them even more. One of the changes should be additional time for causing a child to witness domestic violence. Studies have indicated that children who witness domestic violence develop relationship issues. This is evidence that domestic violence has a negative impact on children. Anyone who commits…[continue]

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