The statistics are grim. “Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. Everyday in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.” The list goes on. Given statistics like these, are police and courts doing enough to stop domestic violence? What measures should society take to combat this type of abuse?
From my understanding of the law (limited, at best), domestic law is seen as shoulder-shrug lesser order of law by law enforcement. After having some peculiarly noteworthy neighbors, I can say responding officers would shrug and say, "There's not much we can do. It's domestic assault." Extrapolating from this, it seems that (1) no, not enough is being done by law enforcement and justice and that (2) a good first step society can take to combat this is to insist upon improved domestic violence and assault laws. To give a fuller scope to the domestic violence picture, when it does happen that a woman takes violent action against a husband, for some bullies are women and wives, law enforcement and justice have the same shoulder shrugging impotent responses as when the assault is the more common way round.
I do not think we have a handle on domestic violence. There is still too much of it. Sometimes repeat offenders are given minimal punishments, so they can just go out and be abusive. Then they are able to retaliate against the people they abused for turning them in.
Although police can be called, in many domestic violence cases, the woman will keep quiet and not "rat out" her husband. The courts may give an order of protection to a person, but, those will rarely stop very violent people from committing crimes. Education is the answer. Education will empower people to realize they have the ability to stand on their own, work and get away from the abusive spouse. Education is the only thing that can stop the cycle of abuse. Education can help a person with low self-esteem realize there is another way to live.
I do not think that this is something that the police and the courts can lead the way in combatting. It is simply too hard to adequately protect women from abuse via the law. It is, for example, too hard to prosecute a crime in which there are rarely third-party witnesses and in which the victims often recant.
The only thing that society can really do about this is to educate. We have already made strides in this area. Violence against women was once seen as at least somewhat natural and men were seen to have the right to beat their wives. This has changed because of changing values. This is the only real way to bring an end to domestic violence.