Essay on Domestic Violence

Submitted By ame6413
Words: 1281
Pages: 6

Domestic Violence Reform “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence tells us that 81% of Americans agree with this saying when it comes to preventing domestic violence. Recent statistics showed that our society strongly believes that this problem is something that needs addressed(ICADV). Studies have also indicated that a combination of circumvention and prosecution are the best resolutions for this crime(NDVH decade 2). Why do this many people believe that Domestic Violence, or DV as it is often called, is a concern? Possibly due to the fact that in the United States, more than 33 million women will become victims of domestic violence annually. Out of that number, 1400 women will die over the course of a year(Davis). Obviously, with this many citizens being harmed or killed, not enough is being done by the government to protect victims. Current prevention and legal actions should continue as well as be expanded. There are many ways to approach this issue using a combination of legislation, prevention programs, and education. First, stronger laws such as mandatory arrest at the scene are needed nationwide. According to Lucy Friedman, executive director of Victim Services Agency in New York, “Until we can change societal attitudes, arrest needs to be mandatory.” She further states that when arrest is not mandatory, officers often downgrade the offense to harassment when there is clearly an issue of assault(Glaser 7). Currently 15 states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring police officers to arrest the offender at the time of the complaint. Repeat offenses have been cut in half by utilizing this tactic compared to other approaches(Glaser 5). Therefore, the other 35 states in the country should adopt the mandatory arrest law in an effort to reduce domestic violence cases. Second, states need to implement all encompassing programs similar to the model used by the San Diego’s prosecutor’s office which addresses all aspects of the victim’s needs. This plan utilizes mandatory arrest for all offenders and vigorous prosecution philosophies. This means charges cannot be dropped at the victim’s request and there are means to move forward even if the woman refuses to testify. Batterers are required to attend group counseling for a year and will be re-arrested for non-compliance. Volunteers from the prosecutor’s office act as advocates and stay in contact with victims to assist them throughout the process. San Diego has seen it’s domestic violence homicide rate drop 61% over the last three years. Casey Guinn of the prosecutor’s office is convinced this is due to the strict prosecution policy(Glasser 12). On the other hand, there are drawbacks to the mandatory arrest policies. The main focus of current laws has been to stop or prevent further abuse by removing victims and their children from violent environments(Sarkees 96). The mandatory arrest law allows the victim a time period to seek safe shelter, but often times they do not have the means to fulfill these needs. While this area still falls short in helping the victims, the reduction in repeat cases and murders well outweighs the lack of shelter. In addition to shelter issues, law reform remains inadequate often leaving the victims with a whole new set of problems (Sarkees 96). While the law addresses the criminal side of the problem, it does not give the victim immediate protection from the abuser. The individual must still file for a protective order on their own as well as in many cases push for prosecution(Davis).
The entire process can be long and drawn out causing many individuals to give up and return to a difficult situation. Many states need to establish instant protective orders at the time of arrest and back these up with the threat of arrest for any violations of the order(Davis). Third, another legal step that is needed would be mandatory reporting by