Domestic Violence, Characteristics of

Domestic violence is generally not a crime; rather, the term is descriptive of the serious social problem of violence located largely within the family structure. In general, domestic violence is also often considered a pattern of behavior which may escalate. Within the legal system, the term domestic violence is used to encompass a variety of crimes, ranging from battery and assault to false imprisonment, kidnapping, stalking, rape or sexual assault, and homicide. Such crimes, when identified as domestic violence, have raised issues of enforcement, prosecution, and sentencing. Crimes associated with domestic violence may involve mandatory arrest policies or laws, a suspect being held in jail for a specified number of hours before conditional release is permitted, and unique criminal sentences such as batterer counseling.

Although early ...

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