The Criminal Justice System Has Failed to Reduce Domestic Violence

Massachusetts Human Trafficking
robert franklinAugust 2, 2019 by Robert Franklin, Esq.

A criminal justice approach to domestic violence hasn’t ameliorated the problem and may be making it worse. We need to find other methods of addressing DV if we’re to reduce its incidence. That’s the gist of this much-needed article by Professor Leigh Goodmark (New York Times, 7/23/19).

She argues for a more sensible approach to intimate partner violence. Goodmark doesn’t mention the fact, but any such approach would significantly improve the system of divorce, child custody and parenting time. For decades now, claims of domestic/sexual violence – aka “the silver bullet” – have been understood by family lawyers to be a tactic in wresting custody from a disliked ex.

The points Goodmark makes are scarcely new. That the decline in DV rates is attributable not to the criminalization of the problem or mandatory arrest policies, but to the overall decrease in violent crime has been noted many times since at least 2006.

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