The purpose of this research paper was to review the topic of domestic violence from a criminology and criminal justice perspective. Domestic violence is the attempt by one person to obtain power and control over his or her intimate partner through psychological, physical, or sexual abuse. Victims of domestic violence are familiar with what is called the “cycle of violence,” which consists of three stages that victims of domestic violence continually cycle through at the hands of their batterers.
Although there is no specific way to identify a batterer before the abuse starts, the following are some common red flags to be aware of in a relationship: extreme jealousy or possessiveness, the need for control, rigid stereotypical views on gender roles, isolation from friends and family, economic control, extreme insecurity regarding the self or the relationship, and constantly checking up on or questioning the other’s whereabouts. Similarly, there is no way to identify a victim prior to the person’s victimization because this form of violence is pervasive in all cultures, faiths, educational levels, income levels, and sexual orientations. The domestic violence movement, with the help of the women’s movement, has made many strides toward improving the criminal justice system’s response to the crime of domestic violence. For example, although somewhat controversial, the passage of mandatory arrest laws have shown society that law enforcement officers are committed to holding offenders accountable for their actions. The development of domestic violence courts has indicated that the judicial system views domestic violence differently from other crimes and that it therefore needs its own system of offender processing. Despite the many ways in which the criminal justice system has evolved in its response to domestic violence in the past 40 years (Parnas, 1967), there is still much more work to do in the fight against domestic violence.
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