How does the US legal system respond to domestic violence? And how can it be improved?
How does the US legal system respond to domestic violence? What are the problems? How could it be improved? This Public Lecture by Professor Leigh Goodmark discusses these questions.
Professor Goodmark is a lawyer and author who came to Australia in August 2015 to discuss her research and practice experience. Professor Goodmark’s scholarship focuses on
- legal and justice responses to violence against women
- reconstructing legal responses to domestic violence, and
- finding “justice beyond the justice system” for women who struggle to find redress from within the justice system.
In her wide-ranging lecture, she touched on (this list is not comprehensive) —
- problematic stereotypes of women who experience violence (e.g. ‘battered women syndrome’, ‘trauma bonding’),
- how the legal system privileges physical abuse and doesn’t sufficiently address psychological abuse, financial abuse, spiritual abuse, social abuse (isolation) and reproductive abuse,
- the US Government’s ‘Violence Against Women’ Act — its history, outcomes and problems,
- how all the legal system’s tools are designed with the expectation that the victim wants to separate from the abuser, but it offers nothing to women who want to remain with their partners,
- mandatory arrest policies (these pertain in some states in the USA) and the harm they have done to women who experience domestic violence,
- ‘no-drop’ prosecution policies (again, only in some US states) and how they sometimes harm victims
- ways the legal system could be improved,
- ways in which, outside the legal system, communities can better hold abusers accountable and better support victims.
To watch Professor Goodmark’s lecture, click here.
Professor Rosalind Croucher AM, President of the Australian Law Reform Commission delivered the opening address at the lecture. An inConversation with Professor Goodmark and Professor Croucher is also available.
Note: this lecture is delivered to a secular audience and I got the impression that Professor Goodmark is not a Christian. I’m only noting this to alert readers to the fact that there were a few places in the lecture where same-sex relationships seemed to be treated as ethically and morally unproblematic. As Christians, we take a different view on the ethics of same-sex relationships from the view taken by the secular community, as I’m sure our readers already are aware.
Representing The Domestic Violence Survivor: Critical Legal Issues; Effective Safety Strategies. by Garry Goldstein, J.D., and Elizabeth Lui, J.D. Recommended resource for lawyers who are representing domestic abuse victims.