The Legal System Of Domestic Violence

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Out of the shadows and into the limelight, the once hidden crime of domestic violence has recently emerged within the Australian community as a widespread criminal issue. This abuse of power occurs in a relationship when one partner attempts to physically or psychologically dominate and control the other. Inflicting physical harm upon another human being is undoubtedly a breach of the criminal law, yet the Australian legal system takes little measures to protect the wider community from this type of violence. According to Family Lawyer Richard Ingleby, domestic violence has often been condoned by the legal system due to the fact that assaults occur in the ‘private’ realm of the home where legal measures are regarded as inappropriate, and interventionist. However, by overlooking domestic violence as a criminal offence, does the Australian legal system fail to adequately protect the family unit from this form of violence? Recent studies from the Australian Bureau of Statics have revealed that 23% of women who have ever been married or engaged in a de facto relationship have experienced violence by a partner at some time during the relationship. Due to the secrecy that once surrounded this kind of abuse, victims often feel unable to speak out and seek help, therefore even large surveys cannot provide accurate estimates of the extend of domestic violence within the Australia community (Domestic Violence and Incest Resource Centre, 1998). Despite the high incidence rate of
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