It is an established fact that the extent to which human societies are developed today, there are very rare examples of such developments in past.
Now there is more awareness about the rights of every segment of the society, including the women – the most neglected segment in past. Violence against the women has always been a common menace for many societies. In various period of history, numerous actions have been taken to overcome this issue.
One of those measures is to protect the women against violence through legal reforms. This paper summarizes the issues with the existing VAWA (Violence against Women Act).About VAWAViolence against Women Act is the federal law of United States which is aimed to protect the women against violence. It is not just a policy document; rather it has variety of measures related to women abuse, like persecution of the abuser, support of victim etc. With the help of various organizations, Senator John Biden drafted it. It was passed in 1994 and It was re-authorized in 2000 and then again in 2005.Problems with VAWADespite a great amount of efforts in its drafting, there are several issues with this act as well. These issues are as follows.
The first issue is that VAWA has no significant measures to curb the abuse by intimate partner. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistical Report, 40-50% of the women are physically injured, when assaulted by their intimate partner and this accounts for around 200,000 visits in the hospital’s emergency rooms, each year.Secondly, it is also often argued that aggressive persuasion policy would place women at greater risk. These laws are defined very broad, thus there are rare chances to get the real victim protected, as abuser can manipulate many clauses of the law. The law requires the cops to arrest the alleged abuser even if no signs of abuse are there or the women do not want the abuser to be jailed. This clause prevents the women to report with the fear of future violence; on the other hand, it may also be misused by women to settle their petty issues with their partners.It has also been observed that Policies for treatment of offenders, no-drop prosecution, and restraining orders do not appear to be effective. These laws are often termed by various segments of society, especially males as discriminatory against males and various states have implemented it in their own way.
In doing so, they have restricted various rights which are usually considered as civil liberty. It is also said in the criticism of this law that female specific treatment for female abusers is almost non-existent. Moreover, the victim houses / shelters which are supposed to be provided for female abusers, do not meet the required standards. It is also criticized about VAWA that it, in conjunction with the broadened definition of child abuse, provides for a system that removes children from their homes. Above all, an allegation of domestic violence under the broadly-defined laws of the VAWA can lead to family break-ups.To sum up, there is no law which is perfect in nature, due to one reason or another, it does possess some loopholes. However, what really can be done is to patch up the loopholes that emerge over the period of time, out of its uses and misuses.
Most of these reasons have been extracted from Radar (2007).RecommendationsAs already discussed, there is no law which is totally perfect. Rather, it evolves and improves over time.
Following recommendations seems to remove or at least minimize the effect of the issues discussed above.First of all, it must be kept in mind that no law is implemented in isolation. There may be range of economic, social and socioeconomic factors that interact with each other and thus, due to this interaction, the law sometimes does not provide the outcome it is intended to. Thus, there is a need of integrated public policy. Thus, the law must be drafted keeping in view not only the women, but all those segments in society that are affected by this.Most of the issues discussed above have emerged as a result of socioeconomic factors which seem to be ignored while drafting the law.
Thus, in first place, there is a need for conducting preliminary studies to inquire about the correlation of various social and economic factors those results in violence against women. Secondly, there is a need to redefine the term ‘domestic violence’. This process of redefinition should replace vague and ambiguous parts with more concrete and specific parts. Moreover, it is also recommended that the gender sensitive treatment should be carried out with male and female abusers. The law must also address the need for state custody of the child, in the case when both the parents are deemed to undergo the treatment.Works CitedFeminists for Just and Equitable Public Policy (FemJEPP).
(2002). Good Policy for Women. Retrieved July 18, 2008 from http://www.femjepp.ca/tools/good_policy.
pdfRespecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting (RADAR). (2007). Has VAWA Delivered its Promises to Women? Retrieved July 18, 2008 from http://www.mediaradar.org/docs/RADARreport-VAWA-Has-It-Delivered-on-Its-Promises-to-Women.pdf