Domestic Violence: A Global View

By Randal W. Summers; Allan M. Hoffman | Go to book overview
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3
ENGLAND AND WALES

Shirley Rawstorne


PERCEPTIONS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Domestic violence is a phenomenon that has remained largely invisible over centuries. Traditional roles of women as inferior and subordinate to men, and as property of their husbands, have served as a model for generations. In consequence, any acts that took place in the privacy of the domestic environment were not the concern of the public domain. Such views were reinforced through religious teachings. Moreover, domestic violence has been marginalized and trivialized, ignored or diverted to civil or lower, less important courts.

The definition of domestic violence is violence within the family, and it is often referred to as “hidden crime.” Violence perpetrated by strangers constitutes events in the public domain, and this fits in with everyday notions of crime; but, there has been a reluctance to extend the idea of crime to the private domain of the family. Indeed, the family is seen in direct contrast to the dangerous outside world as a private place of safety and protection. It is when this safe, private world becomes dangerous that societal intervention is necessary.

There have been an increasing public awareness and recognition of acts of violence and abuse within families, particularly over the last few decades. Domestic violence is now seen as the mental, physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, and/or economic abuse of one person by another who is in a relationship with him/her. The relationship may be between partners, former partners, or other family members. Domestic violence is controlling

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