Summary and Conclusion
A distinction exists between the “personal troubles of milieu” and “public issues of social structure.” Troubles are a private matter, occurring within the character of the individual and in relationships with others. Personal values held by the individual are threatened. Issues are a public matter where some value held in esteem by the public is threatened. Issues are located within the social and historical institutions of a society (Mills, 1959/2000). Vacillation between defining domestic violence as personal trouble or public issue is evident in historical and political efforts to address domestic violence in the United States.
This book presents four theoretical perspectives that inform criminal justice responses to domestic violence: social learning, social exchange/deterrence, feminist, and ecological (Danis, 2003). Because various levels of the ecological framework integrate social learning, social exchange/deterrence, and feminist theory into a formalized legal response (Danis, 2003), the discussion of the findings of this study is grounded within the county’s response to domestic violence. Specifically, the discussion focuses on the broader scope of legal sanctions, treating domestic violence as a public issue within the context of the macrosystem of the county’s rules and values demonstrated through sanctions imposed in response to domestic violence related offenses. Due to limitations in the data, not present in the discussion are the individual characteristics, motives, and personal values of the perpetrators that may influence recidivism.