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Domestic Violence Essay

2918 words - 12 pages

There have been some major changes in the police response to domestic violence however there are still many areas that need improving. The purpose of this essay is to analyse the relative response made by the police to crimes of domestic violence by examining the theories and statistics from the study of various criminology scholars as well as scrutinising the impact of any changes or improvement that may have since occurred in policing.
The Government defines domestic violence (DV) as "Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of ...view middle of the document...

Having established that women fall victim to the majority of DV incidents (Walby and Allen,2004), statistics however, show that 19 per cent of the victims of domestic violence are male with approximately half of all such violence acts being carried out by a female partner (Simmons et al, 2002). Furthermore, in 2006/7 104 people were killed in domestic violence incidents in the UK, 83 of which were female and 21 male (Western European Union 2008b) while 77% of all reported crimes regarding domestic violence in the UK were committed against women (Western European Union 2008a).
Historically, Criticism regarding the problem with DV within the police force originates from the traditional police belief that domestic violence should not be part of their work since such disputes were generally a waste of time [Edwards, 1986]. Edwards also found in her 1989 study of policing domestic violence, that they were also condemned for their lack of interest in arresting perpetrators of DV despite the fact that they had the first point of contact with the victims, since they often found it a waste of time and believe that the victim (in most case the woman) will withdraw their charge [Edwards, 1989]. Edwards frequently encouraged the police to arrest more perpetrators as she believed it will stop a lot more DV in the future.
Up until the 1970s domestic violence was not viewed as a crime since it was seen as a ‘private matter’ and not ‘real violence’ [Women’s Aid]. Moreover, the police force was pre-dominated by men and seen as a cult of masculinity; as a result, a police man responding to a domestic violence case was more likely to identify with the wife-beating man than the female victim [Police response to domestic violence p.2]. This led feminists’ scholars to argue that domestic assault and the failure of the criminal justice system to deal effectively with such phenomena were a reflection of the suppression of women’s rights to male supremacy in society as a whole (Rape Research and Counselling Project, 1981). As a result, they focused greatly on the law and its appliance by the police as a way to protect women from DV. Such laws include The Domestic Violence and Matrimonial Proceedings Act 1976, which enabled cohabiting women, married or not, to get an injunction and have the man excluded from the home if an incident occurred [Police response to domestic violence p.19], while The Domestic Proceedings and Magistrates Court Act 1978, gives only married women the right to get a protection order preventing her husband from assaulting her and through the magistrates court have him leave the matrimonial home under an exclusion order [Police response to domestic violence p.19-20].Nonetheless, with the re-emergence of the second wave feminism, violence against women at this time was made a priority on the government system by various activist feminists and feminist scholars who reinforced the need to recognise the extensive problem of domestic violence and...

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