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Domestic Violence: An Evaluation of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994
Domestic violence affects thousands of people each year. In the United States, there were 7, 047 cases of domestic violence reported in 2005. According to the U. S. Department of Justice in 2008, domestic violence and intimate partner violence affected some 6. 2 million women in the United States. Domestic violence results in psychological damage, physical injury, death, and other damages. Unfortunately, the problem of domestic and family violence continues to grow in the United States (American Bar Association, 2005, pp. 1-18).
Domestic violence affects women from all socio-economic backgrounds, races, ages, education levels, and income levels. In 2001, approximately 20% of all nonfatal crimes in women were the result of domestic violence. Domestic violence creates issues aside from violence and injury. The majority of the women suffering from domestic violence reported difficulty in maintaining stable employment. As a result, financial issues resulted from absenteeism and other issues associated with domestic violence that affected the victim’s ability to maintain a stable life. With this in mind, domestic violence results in many issues and costs to the families and victims of domestic violence (Grovert, 2008, pp. 1-41).
In the past, victims of domestic violence kept quiet about abuse. Their pleas for help fell on deaf ears and society looked the other way. Today, victims of all ages, genders, and ethnicities have a stronger voice. Our criminal justice system recognizes domestic violence as a crime in which federal and state legislation prohibits domestic violence, making the offense a chargeable criminal offense (Grovert, 2008, pp. 1-41). In order to evaluate the effects of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, evaluation research is conducted to study the overall effectiveness of the legislation in reducing domestic violence in women (Grovert, 2008, pp. 1-41; ABA, 2014).
Review of Literature
Domestic violence is an act of violence and abuse of a partner. Women are more likely to be a victim of an assault, rape or murder by a male partner than by any other assailant (Grovert, 2008, pp. 1-41). Domestic violence occurs in all ethnic, economic, and social backgrounds. The criminalization of violence against women started in 1920 but did not improve until the 70s when criminal justice systems began developing methods to enforce domestic violence. By 1994, the enactment of the Violence Against Women Act in the United States, which was the legislative landmark in reducing domestic violence in female populations (Grovert, 2008, pp. 1-41). A study of recent journals, articles, and research demonstrated that the Violence Against Women Act has successfully reduced domestic violence. This is caused by the offenders knowledge of the criminal consequences, increasing reports, and other programs to assist victims (National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women, 2014, pp. 1-3; Grovert, 2008, pp. 1-41).
Prior to 1994, domestic violence was a criminal offense that many failed to report. This is due fear of retaliation, few provisions to protect the victim, tolerance by officials, society and victims (Durose, Harlow, Largar, Motivans, Rantala, & Smith, 2005, pp. 1-6). In the United States in the 90s, domestic violence began increasing at a rate that society, justice professionals, and legislators could no longer ignore. Approximately 1. 3 million women were the victim of domestic violence in the 90s (American Bar Association, 2014; Durose et al., 2005, pp. 1-6).
In response these public issues and crimes, former President Bill Clinton signed the Violence against Women Act of 1994. The act enabled grants, funding, reporting systems, the national hotline, and federal office to work in conjunction with the Department of Justice to oversee and enforce the act (National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women, 2014, pp. 1-3; Sacco, 2014, pp. 1-3). In 2013, the reauthorization of the act was completed. The reauthorization provided more protections for victims including the addition of 660 laws in 2000, and other methods to reduce domestic violence. The research conducted on the legislation demonstrated that the numbers of women reporting domestic violence rose from 48% in 1993 to 59% in 1998 (National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence against Women, 2014, pp. 1-3; Orchowsky, Johnson, Parisi, & Wagner, 1999, pp. 1-266).
Reducing Domestic Violence with Criminal Justice. As indicated in the above paragraphs, after the Violence against Women Act was enacted in 1994, more women than ever before began reporting domestic violence. Much of this is attributed to the reauthorization efforts in 2000 in which the act enabled anti-stalking provisions and orders of protection for victims of domestic violence (Sacco, 2014, pp. 1-43). Additionally, the prosecuting of offenders increased safety for many victims, which has also increased incentives for others to report the offense (National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence against Women, 2014, pp. 1-3). According to the Bureau of Justice researchers (2002), 11 large counties in state courts prosecuted and convicted some 1, 500 defendants while in federal courts reported a 90% conviction rate for interstate domestic violence cases (Durose, et. al, pp. 1-18, 2005; National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence against Women, 2014, pp. 1-3; Sacco, 2014, pp. 1-43).
The goal of this study is to merit the decision on the effectiveness of the Violence against Women Act in reducing the incidence of domestic violence. In this regard, the following hypothesis has been formulated:
Hσ: That the Violence against Women Act is not an effective deterrent to reduce the incidence of domestic violence.
Hα: That the Violence against Women Act is an effective deterrent to reduce the incidence of domestic violence
The independent variable for this study is the correlated results of available data generated from the local state police department. This will include the number of reported case of domestic violence reported from 1984 to 1994, with the number of pressed charges and cases on the perpetrators of the abuse from 1994 to 2004. The result of the correlation will be measured against the statistics on the incidence of domestic violence 2013, which will serve as the dependent variable for this study. In addition, this study will also utilize the use of modulating variables like age, race, gender, education, and the number of children.
The proposed study benefits from a descriptive study to evaluate the effectiveness of the Violence against Women Act of 1994 in its ability to reduce domestic violence in women. A descriptive study is an efficient research methodology in determining the cause and effect of a given phenomenon. In the case of this study, it would like to determine if the Violence against Women Act in 1994 has been effective in decreasing the incidence of domestic violence. The study consists of correlating reports prior to the Violence against Women Act in 1994 the reports after the enactment of the legislation. Additionally, the correlated values on the number of reported incidence of domestic violence from 1984 to 1994 and the report on the pressed and convicted charges on domestic violence from 1994 to 2004 (IV) is quantitatively measured and compared with the latest incidence report on domestic violence (DV). The use of mixed-methods provides both descriptive and statistical measures for the research presentation and conclusions.
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America Bar Association (2014). Domestic Violence Statistics. Retrieved from http://www. americanbar. org/groups/domestic_violence/resources/statistics. html.
Durose, M., Harlow, C., Largar, P., Motivans, M., Rantala, R., & Smith, E., (2005). Family Violence Statistics: US Department of Justice Programs: Bureau of Justice Statistics. (June 2005). pp. 1-6. Retrieved from http://www. bjs. gov/content/pub/pdf/fvs07. pdf.
Grovert, A. (2008). Domestic violence against women: A literature review. pp. 1-41. Retrieved from http://commons. pacificu. edu/spp/92.
National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence against Women (2014). The Violence Against Women Act. pp. 1-3. Retrieved from http://www. ncadv. org/files/OverviewFormatted1. pdf.
Orchowsky, S., Johnson, C., Parisi, L., & Wagner, K. (1999). Domestic violence and sexual assault data collection systems in the states. pp. 1-266. Retrieved from, http://www. jrsa. org/pubs/reports/dom_full_report. html
Sacco, L. (2014). The Violence Against Women Act: Overview, legislation and federal funding. pp. 1-43. Retrieved from http://fas. org/sgp/crs/misc/R42499. pdf.