Explore ways in which the criminal justice system attempts to prevent and punish family violence. Trace the origins of laws, many of which have been passed relatively recently, to punish child abuse, wife battering, and/or elder abuse. Find and/or read some of the failures of the courts and social workers to fully follow the law. Discuss the issues of punishing abusers and those who batter, including the lenient sentences that many men receive, and the pros and cons of counseling.
Domestic Violence Law
Prevention of domestic violence is treated by the civil as well as criminal justice system. Judicial and police departments help in providing services and opportunities to victims and sometimes to offenders so that a balance in society is maintained. Directing victims towards the right procedure, solving ambiguities regarding evidence, and giving patient-centric ground to uplift conditions of abuse. Social and legal institutions’ integrity is protected by giving proper detentions to abusers. Improving practices related to arrest, enforcing the law with proper procedure, and keeping a fair and unbiased system of justice ensures a decline in the rate of domestic aggression. Under the Domestic Violence Act, the criminal justice system can give certain types of punishment to abusers to curb growing family violence in the country. Imposing fines depending upon the severity of the crime, fees, issuing an order to protect the victim, keeping the abuser on probation to give a check, and sending family members to counseling to improve their mental state and find a middle ground for resolving differences are some of how punishment and prevention are sustained. The abuser also loses any custody of children and needs to surrender arms or weapons used for creating fear and abuse. Finally, the tenure of imprisonment is sentenced if the violence falls into the heinous category or causes serious life injury (Frattaroli, Zeoli & Webster, 2021, p.576).
In general, State laws govern the problem of child abuse. Tracing back the origin of Child protection laws gives us the year 1875 when specific laws were passed for child care and prevention of violence. Before the year 1875, laws at federal and state levels only gave prosecution to abusers and focused less on establishing child-centric systems. The first landmark legislation, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act was passed in 1975. Recently, the Children’s Act, of 2020 was implemented criminalizing child abuse activities of various degrees (Child Abuse Protection Laws, 2020). Strict federal law on protecting women from domestic violence was passed in 1994. Recently the same was reauthorized with added provisions as it lapsed in 2018. The act was passed again to safeguard the rights and accountability of women. In 2021, the Elderly Abuse Protection Act was passed. This bill was first introduced in 2017 to ensure the safety of elders and save them from exploitation. A culture that has misogyny, especially in the criminal justice system is most likely to give lenient punishment to abusers who are male. The women who go through domestic violence use weapons for self-defense and end up receiving more punishment than the abuser who is not using any weapon. Men who are in power and hold reputable offices face fewer fines and punishment.
Having counseling in cases of family violence helps victims identify signs of abusive behavioral changes in their partner. This can warn them and take necessary steps.
Counseling includes positive talk and empathy which enhances the self-esteem of the victims. Being in therapy helps realize the true goals of the person who lacks control over their life. The survivor feels relieved after getting solutions or advice about their situation. Parents learn how to deal sympathetically with their children to relax them. Whereas, the benefits of counseling are innumerable, getting a biased and judgemental counselor can hamper the goal. Domestic abuse counseling takes a lot of time and cannot help victims with excessive anxiety and depression. Relying totally on the counseling process makes survivors dependent and deficient in self-decisions. Courts and social workers fail to comply with the law as they ignore relevant information and refuse to consider evidence in the procedure. Organizations produce corrupt and outdated data regarding family violence and mislead professionals. Acting beyond power and reflecting bias in their system brings failure of law in the criminal justice system (Wexler, 2020, 36).
Child Abuse Protection Laws. (2020, November 24). Darkness to Light. Retrieved October 16, 2022, from https://www.d2l.org/get-help/reporting/protection-laws/
Frattaroli, S., Zeoli, A. M., & Webster, D. W. (2021). Armed, prohibited and violent at home: Implementation and enforcement of restrictions on gun possession by domestic violence offenders in four US localities. Journal of Family Violence, 36(5), 573-586.
Wexler, D. B. (2020). The STOP domestic violence program: Group leader’s manual. WW Norton & Company.