Assess the veracity of the following statement: "In light of the Violence Against Women Act, the role of the victim of domestic violence has helped shape criminal justice responses to it."
It was not until the women's movement of the 1960s and 1970s that the voices of those being abused were heard. The battered women's movement emerged, becoming one of the most powerful social justice and service movements in United States history.
In 1994, The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was passed. VAWA was a major federal bill that provided more than $1 billion to be used to assist battered women's shelters, train law enforcement personnel and judges, and support other crime-prevention efforts addressing violence against women.
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I tend to think that this question and its implications is an interesting one. I think that an interesting starting point in assessing the veracity of the statement is to suggest that the strength of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was to transform the role of the victim and thus the response of the criminal justice system by making domestic violence a public issue. For so long prior to VAWA, the idea of domestic violence was seen as a "private" issue between husbands and wives. The notion of "domestic violence" was dismissed as "husband and wife" matters. VAWA made such actions a criminal or public matter. It was through this that the role of the criminal justice system and its responses to it changed in that the legal system was able to assert that the shied of privacy cannot apply to situations where a person's rights and voice are being grossly negated. VAWA made the role of a victim of domestic violence an issue of public interest, moving such a voice from margin to center in public discourse. In the process, criminal justice responses became public issues in such realms, asserting that public agencies can protect the welfare of individuals that might have been seen as "private" issues.
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