Enjoining Coercion: Squaring Civil Protection Orders with the Reality of Domestic Abuse
Journal of Law and Family Studies, Vol. 11, No. 35, 2008
31 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2009
Date Written: Fall 2008
Every state provides civil protection for victims of domestic abuse, but these regimes typically fixate on physical violence. Domestic abuse, however, does not spring from violent tendencies. Rather, abuse arises from a perpetrator's desire to exert power and control over his victim. Abusers often deploy emotional, economic, political and social tactics to coerce responses from vulnerable partners long before they resort to violence. Violence is the extreme tool to maintain control when a victim challenges the abuser's power over her life. Civil protection systems should confront domestic abuse more comprehensively by providing relief from oppressive coercion. By empowering victims earlier in their relationships, civil protection orders might be tools of prevention and redemption, not merely emergency responses to imminent physical danger.
Keywords: domestic violence, domestic abuse, women, family law
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