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Cross CurrentsFamily Law and Policy in the US and England$
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Sanford N. Katz, John Eekelaar, and Mavis MacLean

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198268208

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198268208.001.0001

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Violence Against Women in the Family

Violence Against Women in the Family

(p.495) 22 Violence Against Women in the Family
Cross Currents

Rebecca Dobash

Russell Dobash

Oxford University Press

With a focus on Britain, this chapter examines continuities and changes in legal responses to violence against women in the home with respect to both victims and perpetrators. The terms used to describe this particular form of violence changed from the nineteenth-century term of wife beating, to late twentieth-century terms of violence between intimate partners, violence against women, woman abuse, spouse abuse, family violence and, most commonly, ‘domestic violence’. The changes in terminology were meant to reflect changes in social and domestic relations away from earlier and more rigid conceptions of ‘husbands’, ‘wives’, marriage and family with all that these terms traditionally implied to more contemporary conceptions of men and women living in intimate relationships that may or may not be sanctioned by marriage. While some men have been the recipients of violence from a woman partner, most evidence about assaults and homicides from around the world clearly points to asymmetry in ‘domestic’ violence with men as the most usual perpetrators and women as the most usual victims.

Keywords:   Britain, violence against women, domestic violence, wife beating, woman abuse, spouse abuse, marriage, family, assaults, homicides

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