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Legal Background (From Private Violence and Public Policy, P 97-109, 1985, Jan Pahl, ed. - See NCJ-98421)

NCJ Number
S Parker
Date Published
13 pages
This chapter analyzes British law and its applications for battered women.
The ability of domestic violence laws to protect battered women is discussed. Three themes are noted: the ideology of family privacy, or the noninterventionist approach; domestic violence law itself and its applications; and the complexity and lack of integration of legal remedies. The ways in which the law reflects and nurtures the notion of family privacy are discussed: for example, judges' reluctance to use the existing laws, short of divorce, and the incomprehensibility of some of the laws. Regarding the laws, the inability of injunctions routinely to deter violent husbands is noted, as well as the lack of protection offered the battered women. When the law deals with the specifics of housing and homeless persons it is found to be most effective. The social, rather than individual, nature of family violence is noted. Legal changes are suggested, and their possible social ramifications are discussed. For example, divorce could be made on demand, disputes could be removed from the court setting, conciliation procedures could be extended, and the law on injunctions could be simplified.