DID YOU KNOW:
Prior to 1984, most police could not legally make a
warrantless arrest unless a misdemeanor occurred in the officer's
presence, or the officer had probable cause to believe that a felony had
taken place. Since most domestic violence cases involve simple assault
and battery—a misdemeanor—the police could not make an arrest at the
scene. Advising the husband or boyfriend to "take a walk around the
block" was often the extent of police intervention.
DID YOU KNOW:
All states made "wife beating" illegal by 1920.
However, only since the 1970s has the criminal justice system begun to
treat domestic violence as a serious crime, not as a private family
matter. Domestic violence is any physical, sexual, or psychological
abuse that people use against a former or current intimate partner. It
refers to a number of criminal behaviors: assault and battery; sexual
assault; stalking; harassment; violation of a civil restraining
order; homicide; and other offenses that occur in the course of a
domestic violence incident, such as arson, robbery, malicious
destruction of property, and endangering a minor. No person can validly
consent to a breach of the peace or a battery that may result in serious
injury or death. Furthermore, most states have abolished the marital
rape exemption in toto; this exemption precluded husbands from being
prosecuted for raping their wives. Thus, in general, there is no legal
distinction between crimes committed against intimate partners and those
committed against strangers.
We have come a long way, but still not far enough in preventing domestic abuse!