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Issue of Domestic Violence Charges in the Criminal Justice System

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Criminology
Wordcount: 2670 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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Throughout the years, domestic violence has been un the uphill. The cause of the rise in domestic violence is due to this generation, the technology and the crime that is happening around them. It is said that when you are around something for a certain period of time, you will take up the traits as your own and this is what is happening with our generation. Domestic violence is happening every day and all around you, but no one ever takes time to pay attention to it; therefore, it leads to individuals not reporting anything until a crime that is fatal occurs. Along with that, many domestic violence calls that are made are put to the side because one of the partners decides to not press charges. That is the main focus, why does the victim of domestic violence decide to not press charge? With that, many questions arise like why are you still with your partner then, why not take action and why do you continue to let it happen? All of these questions but they never get answered. Many do not realize how extreme the numbers have risen within the last few years and it still on the rise.

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 The purpose is derived from a passion of domestic violence and it is something that I am very passionate about, not because of having lived through it but because I have seen it happened and the way it can impact a relationship and family. Domestic violence has been on the rise in the last decade while sweeping the nation with increased cases. Due to its rapid growth, I am seeking to study domestic violence in a general aspect to gain knowledge which specifically will further my yearning to answer so many questions I have.

Why are so many domestic violence charges dropped before any action can be taken? That’s the question at hand and will be the main topic researched. Breaking it down, is it due to the overwhelming fact that it is all due to the relationship/family and the time that has been put into it or is it something deeper that due to phycological or physical restraints? These questions will come along with the research and hopefully shed some light on domestic violence and how it impacts so many people’s lives. These questions fascinate me because domestic violence is such a rising crime but once it happens, no actions are ever taken. Through the UCR and other crime surveys, they have told us the percentages of people that have been impacted by domestic violence but to my knowledge, never has someone researched why it was not reported and why do so many cases get dropped. 

This study will further the criminal justice system in many ways. It will provide more information in domestic violence cases, so the criminal justice system will be able to help more victims and gain a deeper understanding of the background and statistics of this violence. Through that, more people will be able to get help when in need and possibly being able to open more safe houses for people that have fallen victims to domestic violence. Gaining that information, then you will be able to prevent more of the domestic violence cases from being dropped. This will let the officials be able to learn why people want to drop the case and hopefully give them a better understanding of how to help the victims and offer them support to not drop the case. In past studies, we have learned that women or victimized more and it normally begins with an argument. From there, the victim will fall to victimization six more times before leaving the relationship for good and seeking help. I want this study to provide answers to help these victims to get out of these situations before the sixth time. People deserve a better life then being enslaved to someone and falling victim to this unlawful crime. Proceeding that, most domestic violence cases lead to death by one of the partners. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the perpetrator to kill the other, many victims will commit suicide or kill the perpetrator to find a way “out” and that is my point. Get them out of this situation before death happens, you cannot help anyone once that has occurred besides supporting them through the court process and hoping for the best.

With domestic violence comes many terms like the battery, National Law Enforcement Telecommunications Systems (NLETS), dating violence, family violence, restraining order, and teen dating violence. These terms serve as background knowledge to be able to fully understand domestic violence and what all it entitles.

Battery involves someone who unlawfully attacks another person by beating or wounding, or by touching in an offensive matter. A battery charge often complies with domestic violence. By California’s State law, they implemented a program called the Batterer’s Interventions Programs which taken individuals through a 52-week class helping the individuals to learn self and attitude control.

A restraining order is a judicial order to forbid a particular act until a decision is reached on an application for an injunction. Once domestic violence has occurred, the victim has the option to allow a restraining order against the predecessor for a sense of protection. Since restraining orders have come about. Technology has grown with it and now there is a program called National Law Enforcement Telecommunications Systems (NLETS), which is a national computer program that host all the restraining orders, so law enforcement can have access to them their fingertips.

  Domestic violence can be breaking down to three main violence: Dating, teen dating, and family. Dating and teen dating violence is the physical, sexual or phycological abuse in a romantic relationship. The only difference between regular dating violence and teen dating violence is teen dating violence is with adolescents. Family violence has a different spin on it, it is when a family member is threatening, controlling and abusive towards another family member. Family violence can happen between: adults in a family – for example, between partners or spouses, between adult children and parents, or between extended family members

adults who used to be in a family – for example, between former partners or spouse (2017).

Domestic violence has swept the nation and is on the rise. In fact, about 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. In one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. Those statistics are mind-boggling because all these people around us are being abused and many people do not report it. On top of that, Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime.

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People are scared to say something about the domestic violence that has occurred to them. They are worried that the counterpart will turn on them or that no one will care but, on a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide. Though this crime is terrible, only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries. (2015)

 Not a lot of research has been done on domestic violence besides statistics but a study I found was about a study on Domestic Violence Against Adult and Adolescent Females in a Rural Area of West Bengal. Before discussing this study, domestic violence happens everywhere, anywhere and anytime. It is not specifically related to the United States, it happens in every country. Diving into this study, the objectives were to determine the prevalence, characteristics, reasons and the socio-demographic correlates of domestic violence, if any, and to find out the perceptions of the females to cope with the act of violence and to overcome the situation. (Sarkar, 2010) Although my personal study will not be aimed directly at females, they are normally the victims in a domestic violence situation. In this study, they used the cross-sectional observation that studied 141 adult and adolescent females. This means that this study different groups of people who differ in the variable of interest but who share other characteristics such as socioeconomic status, educational background, and ethnicity. The study contained a pre-designed and pre-tested questionnaire and then the data was analyzed statically by simple proportions and test of significance. The test result concluded that out of 141 respondents, 33 (23.4%) adult and adolescent females in this village were exposed to domestic violence in the past year. For most of the females who were exposed to domestic violence, their husbands acted as the perpetrators (72.73%) and they reported slapping as the specific act of physical assault (72.73%). The study concluded that the need for justified female empowerment and this calls for a multidisciplinary approach to develop public health measures, which would most effectively address the problem of domestic violence. (Sarkar, 2010)

Another study that was formed was about how many offenders go to jail on domestic violence charges. It began with 517 domestic violence cases and it was found that only 1 out of 4 cases are actually reported to the police that dwindles down the number to 130 cases. After that, it was proved that out of the 130 cases, 27 cases never show up on a police investigators desk, so it never gets investigated. Following, 3 out of 5 cases that are investigated do not get an arrest due to their not being a one-size-fits-all approach because every case is different which takes the overall number to 61 cases. After, there is a 1 out of 3 chance that the prosecuting attorney does not file charges which leaves 43 cases left. Out of the 43 cases left, 28 of them cases plead guilty or have no conviction. For the final twist, out of the 16 cases left, 6 of the cases receive no jail time. This study concluded that around 90% of perpetrators do not receive jail time. Many people wonder why victims do not report domestic violence to the police, but these numbers answer those questions. If you knew that you only had a 10% chance for the perpetrator to receive jail time, would you go through the tolling process of a conviction? (Hamby, 2014)

This research population will consist of two different parties: victims of domestic violence and police investigation offices across the United States. Having these two parties will give a better range of information and allows to have two different points of views from different people across America. With individuals, it allows them to give information on why they didn’t report the domestic violence and police departments will be able to give statistics on follow-ups that resulted in charges not being charged. Individuals will be chosen by a random selection that has been involved in domestic violence, so the survey will be only dealing with victims and families. The participants will be contacted through a phone call, this will give privacy to the victim and allow them to feel safer then handling a mail-out. Police investigation offices will be chosen by the populations of the city in a certain area, two cities with over 10,000 people will be selected and two cities below 10,000 people will be selected. This will give information on different types of cities and how domestic violence impacts certain areas. Equal Probability of Selection Method (EPSEM) is the sampling method that will be used. This will give all the members of the population a known and equal chance of being selected in the sample. The main focus of the sampling method is to give everyone an equal chance and to prevent biases to the victims and officials.

In terms of data collection, my plan for the collection of data is to have a qualitative interview. The interview will be structured to get the best results possible and then we will take the data that is collected and then make an inference on why both parties in a domestic violence case refuse to file charges. Within the interview, there will be basic questions like name, race, age and how long have you been with your partner but, also personal questions like “Since you’ve been impacted by domestic violence, why do you think it happens” and “Why did you decide to drop the charges?” These questions will get the answer we need from victims. With these questions, we will then take the answers and compile them. Personally, the best way will be through Microsoft Excel and make a spreadsheet that you can visually see. That will allow looking over the answer to be easier and more proficient. While on Microsoft Excel, you can use different methods of seeing the information. The software can compile the information into alike answers that the viewers will be able to easily see.  With the police investigators office, we will take officers that deal directly with crime and interview them just like we do with the victims but this time it will be geared towards getting answers from the officer’s perspective. We will make it a scale from 1-10 interview, so it will take less time from the investigators and will be able to compile the answers easily. We will ask questions like “What is your perspective on domestic violence and on a scale from 1-10, is it an issue in America?” or “On a scale from 1-10, why do you think so many cases are dropped? Do you believe it is because of the consequences that could occur to the perpetrator, are you afraid of your well-being and safety or is there another reason?” The information will be taken in the same way as the victims and preparator but will have different types of answers. The information will be put into an Excel spreadsheet but then will be converted into a pie graph or another type of graph for a visual perspective. With this interview strategy, I think we will get an honest answer that will be voluntary and will further this study to answer why do so many cases of domestic violence get dropped?

From the research I’m wanting to perform, I am hoping to be able to analyze that there is a great need for a support system out there for people that do not report domestic violence or decide to drop the charges on the perpetrator. With this support system, I am planning to be able to answer the questions that I have and to be able to assist the victims the correct way and let them know that they have an option to turn to. Though the variables that I am concerned about is that people will still not tell about their domestic violence but once victims understand my plan for a program to assist them, I hope to be able to gain a sense of trust with them. Once the trust is established, then they will be more open to telling their experiences that will further the program to reach other to help more men and women that deal with domestic violence.


  •  Family violence: What is it? (2017, August 01). Retrieved October 18, 2018, from https://raisingchildren.net.au/grown-ups/family-life/domestic-family-violence/family-violence-what-is-it-
  • Hamby, S. (2014, October 4). Guess How Many Domestic Violence Offenders Go to Jail. Retrieved October 21, 2018, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-web-violence/201410/guess-how-many-domestic-violence-offenders-go-jail
  • NCADV | National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. (n.d.). Retrieved October 21, 2018, from https://ncadv.org/statistics
  • Sarkar, M. (2010, April). A Study on Domestic Violence Against Adult and Adolescent Females in a Rural Area of West Bengal. Retrieved October 21, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2940193/


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