Sample Criminal Justice Paper on Domestic/Gender Violence

Violence against Women

The term violence against women refers to acts of victimizing, abusing, oppressing and exploiting female members of the community. The forms of abuse affect victimized female members of the society bodily and psychologically as they are entrapped in a cycle of abuse due to their gender. Abusing and violating women can, therefore, be substantially in a physical, sexual and psychosomatic nature. Abusing, exploiting, and oppressing women occur globally. It is an invasive public health and human rights problem that have been distressing women’s health and tearing apart families and communities. United Nations Population Fund released a report affirming that one in every three women are abused and victimized. Costs incurred include social, judicial, and health expenditures in ensuring violence against women are addressed. More so, nations experience loss of productivity and wages especially in cases involving women being abused and rendered incapacitated to work or denied to earn a living due to their gender (Gosselin, 2014).

Violence against women, however, can be prevented through the following three interconnected elements designed to intervene and end gender-based abuse. The primary element involves identifying women being violated, exploited, and oppressed. The subsequent element is the process of ensuring female members being abused and violated progress from their conditions. The procedure should guarantee women experiencing gender-based violence are empowered and safeguarded from further abuse. The final element involves addressing violence against women within the legal practice while considering federal and state laws ensuring women are neither being abused nor victimized. As a result, the empowerment continuum should allow the law to intervene by exploring the structures, procedures, and substances on violence against women. All the elements can, therefore, be summarized as identity, process, and practice. They ensure victims are helped to move on with life and identified as people who have survived the abuse and violence (Morrison, 2006).

The Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment

The Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment is a study that evaluates the effectiveness of police responses to cases of violence, abuse, and victimization of women in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Lawrence Sherman implemented the Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment in 1981-82. Lawrence was the Director of Research at the Police Foundation. His efforts to establish it were supported by the Minneapolis Police Department. He also received financial aid from the National Institute of Justice. The financial aid has enabled the Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment to identify a pool of domestic violence offenders with probable cause. Consequently, they are captured and counseled before facing the law against gender-based and domestic violence. The study has also ensured persons involved in domestic violence are separated from their partners (Lawrence & Berk, 2007).

Gender-based and domestic violence is often regarded as a private matter affecting family units. This has led persons involved to hardly involve the government or seek interventions through criminal courts. The study acknowledges that in the past cases of gender-based and domestic abuse across the United States did not result in the arrest of the offenders. More so, cases of violence would be filed as assault cases especially in the 1970s. Thus, the study had to classify effective methods reducing domestic violence. The methods had to ensure the victims and perpetrators of abuse and violence against women are present especially when law enforcement officers are responding to a call and making an arrest (Lawrence & Berk, 2007).

The Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment and study has permitted at least fifty patrol administrators to take part. Each participant is requested to use at least three approaches applied in handling domestic violence calls. Officers with probable cause to believe either domestic or gender-based abuse, violence or assault has occurred are also requested to identify the effective methods to tackle the matter. The administrators declared they apply the following three approaches. Foremost, they opt to send perpetrators of domestic and gender-based abuse away for at least eight hours. Secondly, they can decide to offer advice and mediation services between the victim and abuser. Finally, they can decide to make an arrest especially if the perpetrator is a serial victimizer. Ultimately, the study has, therefore, played a major role in reducing cases of gender-based and domestic violence (Lawrence & Berk, 2007).

Theories on the Culture of Violence and Gender Roles

Effectual strategies applied in intervening abuse and violence across domestic platforms ought to be based on clear and eloquent theoretical foundations on the causes of domestic abuse and victimization. Domestic violence being a learned behavior through behavior, experience, culture, and reinforcement in families and communities should be addressed and intervened based on effective strategies. Theoretical foundations should, therefore, assert that domestic violence cannot be caused by anger, genetics disposition, victims’ behaviors, issues in relationships, alcohol, and drugs, and loss of control of a person’s feelings (Kimmel, 2012).

Based on the notion that the issues underlying domestic violence are located within persons involved, the contemporary socio-biology and neo-Darwinism theory can be applied to affirm that it is an individual’s choice to either be a victim or perpetrator. The theory affirms evolution of aggression and violence perpetrated by men has been in attempts to maintain female fidelity while securing reproductive control. Thus, violence can be regarded as a mate retention tactic. There is; however, little empirical support providing useful suggestions to prevent such cases of domestic violence. Consequently, biological variables predicting domestic violence cannot be relied on in devising the typology of an abuser (Kimmel, 2012).

In 1983, Walker developed the Battered Women’s Syndrome as a feminist explanation helping women understand dynamics and impacts of domestic violence. This theory is widely seen as a reductionist as well as opens to misuse as it hardly accounts for rational cultural, social, and economic choices encouraging people to make the decision to stay in abusive relationships. For example, some victims of gender-based violence remain in the relationship as they fear that if they run off the exploitation is bound to escalate. Others fear retaliation while the rest stay to continue receiving financial support which can also guarantee the wellbeing of children. The theory, however, has continued to focus on the psychological effects of domestic violence and the techniques applied by conducting feminist research studies. Consequently, sophisticated and contextualized theory of suffering and the long-term effects of gender-based violence are identified. Attachment to and identification with domestic violence perpetrators is a vital survival strategy for the majority of the victims are dependent on the abusers for basic needs. This theory does not provide legitimate typologies of female members likely to be victims of gender-based exploitation. It also fails to identify the correlation between the personalities, circumstances, and backgrounds of people likely to experience familial violence. Ultimately, the theory identifies female members as the sufferers while their male counterparts as the persons responsible (Kimmel, 2012).

A Critique on the Significance of Domestic Violence in Influencing Courts on Custody of Children

Spouses and co-parents can allege being victims of domestic violence, especially during court proceedings determining who will be awarded the children’s custody. Such contentions have serious impacts on custody orders as they are regarded as relevant particularly if the violence is directed towards the children. Currently, familial violence is regarded as a national problem with some States endorsing statutes creating gender-based violence presumptions on child custody proceedings. The legal presupposition is that the abusers’ current and future actions can be disadvantageous to the children. This can result in the abuser’s accessibility to the children being denied or limited if the spouse provides proof. Thus, domestic violence allegations during a divorce or suits influencing grandparents’ access and affecting the children’s’ relationships with their parents can influence custody orders (Lovatt, 2015).

Similar cases, however, include provisions to refute the presupposition. Thus, a guardian, step-parent, or grandparent indicted for perpetrating any form of violence can be allowed to present evidence affirming they have changed their patterns of abuse. The provision to rebut the presumption can, therefore, render the persons to be declared no longer a threat to the wellbeing and safety of the children or grandchildren being involved in the custody orders. For example, they can present a certificate proving they have completed an anger management or batterer’s treatment courses. They can also convince the court they have completed a drug/alcohol treatment program by testing negative. Coupled with participation in a parenting education course, they can be allowed to access their children (Lovatt, 2015).

The provision to rebut the presumption, however, can be manipulated by perpetrators of domestic violence keen on regaining access to their children or grandchildren. For example, they can complete all court-ordered treatment programs believed to help perpetrators of domestic violence. They are, however, likely to engage in gender-based maltreatment as soon as they can access their children in attempts to punish the spouse who alleged domestic sadism. Regular visits to ensure persons who have changed their patterns of domestic violence should, therefore, be conducted especially when the children are present. This will ensure neither the children nor spouses that have separated are not being abused. Consequently, the family can be guaranteed of peace, accord, and cohesiveness without further reports of domestic violence.



Gosselin, D. K. (2014). Heavy hands: An introduction to the crimes of family violence. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Kimmel, M. (2012). Theories used to explain male violence against women partners and ex-partners. Violence Against Women, 8(11).

Lawrence, S., & Berk, R. (2007). Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment. Police Foundation.

Lovatt, D. (2015). How domestic violence factors into child custody decisions. Family Law.

Morrison, M. A. (2006). Changing the domestic violence (dis)course: Moving from white victim to multi-cultural survivor. University of California, Davis, 39(3), 1061-1120