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It's Complicated: Privacy and Domestic Violence

NCJ Number
American Criminal Law Review Volume: 49 Issue: 4 Dated: Fall 2012 Pages: 1777-1813
Kimberly D. Bailey
Date Published
37 pages
This article discusses the need for more privacy by authorities when dealing with victims of domestic violence.
This article challenges the notion that there is no role for privacy in the domestic violence context. Privacy is a complicated concept that has positive and negative aspects, and this article examines the value more privacy could provide for domestic violence victims. While privacy was historically used as a shield for batterers, more privacy for domestic violence victims could protect their personhood, ensuring they are treated with dignity and respect. In addition, current mandatory criminal justice policies have become so intrusive in many victims' lives that limitations are needed to prevent the threat of State abuse. These protections are particularly important for poor victims and victims of color who are more vulnerable to such abuses. In many cases, a domestic violence victim's choice not to pursue the arrest and prosecution of her batterer should be respected by State authorities. In addition, no victim should be required to cooperate as a witness against her batterer. (Published Abstract)