Does the criminal justice system provide adequate responses to intimate partner violence? If so, explain your answer, if you feel it does not, explain your answer and provide recommendations to make the criminal justice system more effective.

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Historically, "intimate partner violence" or "domestic violence" has been poorly handled by criminal justice systems. Until the nineteenth century, wife abuse was not considered a crime in most countries, and there are still many countries in the world in which violence towards women is still either legal or unofficially condoned. For men, being abused by female partners was considered shameful and even less likely to be reported or taken seriously by the criminal justice system than abuse of women.

The 1990s marked a major advance in the ways societies addressed intimate partner violence with many countries criminalizing domestic violence. The criminal justice system still tends to fail victims, though, often due to reasons that lack obvious remedies. Most importantly, as domestic violence may take place in private settings, it can be difficult to obtain the sort of hard evidence that would result in a conviction. Even worse, abused domestic partners may be unwilling to report such violence, due to fear of angering their abusers, losing their children, or lack of resources which would enable them to leave an abusive relationship.

Even where domestic violence cases are successfully prosecuted, that does not insure a genuine "victory" for the abused party. If the abuser is jailed, the abused party is often left alone, possibly with children to support, possibly with a diminished income, and only limited support systems in place.

While additional training for law enforcement officers and other members of the criminal justice system, and establishment of dedicated units to address domestic violence issues can help, what is most needed is a way to involve adequately funded social service organizations in the prevention of domestic violence and assisting survivors.

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