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Stress, Trauma, and Wellbeing in the Legal System$
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Monica K. Miller and Brian H. Bornstein

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199829996

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199829996.001.0001

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Domestic Violence Victims’ Experiences in the Legal System

Domestic Violence Victims’ Experiences in the Legal System

(p.45) 3 Domestic Violence Victims’ Experiences in the Legal System
Stress, Trauma, and Wellbeing in the Legal System

Deborah Epstein

Lisa A. Goodman

Oxford University Press

Despite positive changes in responses to intimate partner violence (IPV) over the past 30 years, many obstacles to victim safety remain. Because reforms tend to be based on an inflexible one-size-fits-all approach, the justice system fails to effectively support many individual battered women, and sometimes even has a detrimental impact on their emotional and physical wellbeing. Mandatory arrest laws, no-drop prosecution policies, and protection order statutes are designed to protect women but often ignore the needs of women (e.g., housing, finances, children). The relevant body of research is reviewed and analyzed in this chapter. The justice system needs to become more flexible and individualized to meet the diverse needs and priorities of a variety of women. Initial steps forward should include increased communication between victims and various system actors, an intensification of available advocacy services, and an eradication of the reflexive judicial bias in favor of partner separation.

Keywords:   stress, trauma, wellbeing, courts, legal system, victims, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, innovations

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