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Running head: POLICY ANALYSIS PAPER

Policy Analysis Paper: Domestic Violence


Judith Brusseau
SW 4710
Wayne State University

Running head: POLICY ANALYSIS PAPER

Abstract
In terms of domestic violence, some individuals believe that it is the
victims fault for and the abuse at the hand of the perpetrator is justified.
Others wonder why the injured party does not just leave the abuser.
Unfortunately, it is not that easy for the injured party. There are many
reasons that the injured party remains with an abuser and believes that the
fault is theirs, not the behavior of the perpetrator. A lot of the time a woman
does not have a place to go. She may not have access to the familys
finances and cannot get a hold of money. For a variety of reasons, she may
not want her family to know her issues and therefore she will not seek them
out for help with shelter. After a while, her sense of self and reality become
distorted and that can prevent her from making any type of rational decision.
These victims need access to emergency services to put some space
between themselves and their abusers. The injured party also needs
security and financial empowerment. Without these, there will not be a
foreseeable reduction in domestic violence. What policies are put in place to
help this at risk population? Do these policies work? This paper will present
various options that can be presented and examined.

Running head: POLICY ANALYSIS PAPER

Current Social Problems


Mike Tyson and Robin Givens, Chris Brown and Rhianna, Ray Rice and
Janay Rice and most recently, we have Adrian Peterson and his four-year-old
son. The common denominator in these names is celebrities who have been
in the news because of their relation to domestic violence. Domestic
violence has been in the forefront of our nation since the early 1500s where
it was noted as an Old-English common law that allowed wife beating for
correctional purposes. This law eventually got reduced by stating that the
husband is only allowed to whip his wife with a switch no bigger than his
thumb. (Quarter of Women Suffer Severe Violence, n.d.) Today, we have
many laws in place that protect victims and children of domestic violence
and sexual assault. Although we have these laws, we need to recognize
domestic violence and sexual assault as a serious social problem. It has not
gone away. It is still with us. In fact, one in four women and one in seven
men in the United States have experienced severe physical violence by an
intimate partner in their lifetime, while nearly a third of women and an fourth
of men have been slapped, pushed or shoved. Almost ten percent of women
and one percent of men have experienced a partner trying to choke or
suffocate them. (Domestic Violence Counts, 2012)

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A big social problem that we face today in reference to domestic


violence is a lack of emergency housing. Sixty-five percent of unmet
requests for services from domestic violence n injured party were for
emergency shelters or transitional housing, according to an annual census of
local domestic violence programs during a typical twenty-four hour period.
(Domestic Violence Counts, 2012) Another big social problem in relation to
domestic violence victims is the lack of money available for the injured party
to leave their abuser. These two factors weigh heavily on a victim and are
most likely the two biggest reasons that injured parties do not leave their
perpetrator. On a positive note, victims of domestic violence are eligible to
apply for financial help. Statistics show victims of assault comprise about
half of the claimants for compensation, with more than a third of those
claims being paid to domestic violence victims. The problem with this is
each state operates under its own law and eligibility differs from state to
state. Some of the requirements are nearly impossible. For example, in
general, to receive compensation, most states make certain that the victim
immediately reports the crime to law enforcement, and victims must
cooperate with police and prosecutors. He or she is not able to change their
mind once this process gets started. A victim compensation application must
be submitted almost immediately and the individual cannot have committed
a criminal act or some substantially wrongful act that caused or contributed
to the crime. (Crime Victim Compensation, 2014) It appears that some of
these rules could kick the victim right out of the program. Because of this, it

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would be very difficult for a man, women or child who is being violated by
their spouse to want to leave them, especially without any financial help. To
make matters worse, if victims decide to stay with their spouse, who
happens to be abusing a family member the victim could go to jail if the
crime goes unreported to the proper authorities.
Policies in Place
Statewide
According to the Michigan Department of Human Services, domestic violence
is defined as
the occurrence of any of the following acts by a person that is not an act of
self-defense: causing or attempting to cause physical or mental harm to a
family or household member; placing a family or household member in fear
of physical or mental harm; causing or attempting to cause a family or
household member to engage in involuntary sexual activity by force, threat
of force, or duress; and/or engaging in activity toward a family or household
member that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened,
intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.
Michigans DHS goes on to explain that Further, the act defines "family or
household member" to include a spouse or former spouse, an individual with
whom the person has or has had a dating relationship, an individual with
whom the person is or has engaged in a sexual relationship, an individual to
whom the person is related or was formerly related by marriage, or an
individual with whom a person has a child in common. In Michigan, abuse by
an intimate partner is recognized as a violent criminal act and investigated

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by the police. In the past, over a one-year period, domestic violence victims
made more than 61,000 calls and 13,600 women and children were sheltered
as a result of abuse. It is noted that the state of Michigan also has another
board. It is called the FIA Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment
Board. This board is engaged in handing out some funding for the private,
non-profit domestic violence shelters. This is accomplished by determining
the geographic size and the population of the area involved. (Michigan in
Brief, 2001) In 1992, Michigan enacted an anti-stalking law but it was called
too broad and too vague in relation to domestic violence. Presently, most
laws related to domestic violence allow restraining or personal protection
orders. Recognizing domestic violence as a crime enables law enforcement
to follow state laws when responding to domestic violence calls. Michigan
has also enacted measures that address the issue of targeted individuals of
domestic violence. These include prohibiting medical insurers from charging
higher premiums to victims, allowing the family division of circuit court to file
PPOs, expanding the scope of domestic-violence reports and revising
procedures when there is an arrest of a perpetrator. These changes have
assisted victims by allowing them to report the abuse violations with less
hesitation. Also, Michigan has enacted other measures that include
increasing public awareness and education about domestic violence,
increasing victim protection throughout judicial proceedings, creating
uniform standards for reporting and tracking domestic-violence crimes and
offenders and enhancing domestic-violence prevention training for judges

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and law-enforcement personnel. (Michigan in Brief, 2001). Because of these


changes, domestic violence victims are reporting their crimes of abuse
moreso now than ever before. According to the Womens Justice Center,
reports to police have increased by 30-40%.
Nationwide
Nationwide, 1994 was a year where there was much involvement in the
war against domestic violence. First, there was the Violent Crime Control
and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. This law contains three subsections
entitled National Stalker and Domestic Violence Reduction, Protections for
Battered Immigrant Women and Children and Safe Homes for Women.
According to former President Bill Clinton, these laws were described as the
toughtest and smartest crime bill in our history. Although President Clinton
felt this way, the left was not in agreement of extra spending and the bills
failure to address the concerns of racial issues. They were also opposed to
the three strikes law that came along with the bill. Once the bill took effect,
the results helped the abused because of the large drop of crimes in the
1990s, which proved there was some improvement. We also had the
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994 which s a federal law aimed at
ending violence against women and remedying the laws and social practices
that have fostered and justified the history of violence against women. VAWA
was first passed in 1994, as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law
Enforcement Act of 1994, and it was reauthorized in 2000, 2005 and 2013.
The current authorization expired in 2011. The results that occurred due to

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this of this policy is astounding because, according to the Human Rights
Initiative, the act helped to reduce the amount of individuals experiencing
domestic violence. It has also noted that the number of victims who are
reporting domestic and sexual violence to police has increased. This action
has increased the number of arrests of domestic violence perpetrators.
There has also been a decrease in intimate partner violence and homicides.
Since 1994, because of the remarkable improvements, the Violence Against
Women Act of 2013 was enacted to improve legal tools and programs
addressing sexual assault, violence and stalking. It was also created to
reauthorize critical grant programs created by the original Violence Against
Women Act and subsequent legislation. It was also established to create
new new programs and strengthens Federal laws. (Jarrett, 2013)
Nationwide
(Jarrett, 2013) 2005 was another big year with some acts that were
established to help women, immigrant domestic violence victims, domestic
violence victims and domestic sexual assault victims. These include the
Violence Against Women Act, the Immigrant Victims of Violence Protection
Act of 2005 and the Security and Financial Empowerment Act (for victims of
domestic & sexual violence). Congress also introduced the "SHIELD Act" to
Protect Domestic Violence Victims from HUD's Housing Management
Information System Requirements.
Finally, the

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The Public Policy Office of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
(NCADV), located in the nations capitol, is a national leader in the effort to
develop and influence federal and state legislation that positively affects the
lives of domestic violence victims and their children. NCADV works closely
with domestic violence victims and advocates at the local, state and national
levels to identify the issues facing both domestic violence victims and their
children, and the people who serve them. (Jarret, 2013)
Internationally
There are international domestic violence laws that have been
accomplished through the work of the United Nations. With the help of the
Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, the U.N. addresses issues
such as human rights violations. This organization also works to bring
awareness, promote education and recognize that domestic violence is not
only a violation of human rights, but responsibility need to be addressed by
each country in the U.N. It also addresses the fact that the responsibility
needs to be addressed individually, countrywide, when it comes to
protecting women from violence by punishing the perpetrators and make
certain that the victims needs are met. (International Domestic Violence Law,
2010)
Are these Policies Dictated by Local, State or Federal Statue-or
Combinations?
Each specific area, statewide, national and international is dictated
separately by state, federal and international efforts to fight the war on

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domestic violence. Michigan does have a policy that allows an individual of


domestic violence file what is called a Domestic Relationship Personal
Protection Order. The problem with this law is that it must be subject to a
judges discretion. Nationally, in 1994, Congress passed the Violence Against
Women Act. This act (and the 1996 addition to the act) recognized that
domestic violence is a crime that is national and the federal laws needed to
help any overburdened state and their local criminal justice systems.
Congress also passed changes to the Gun Control Act in 1994 and 1996 that
made certain situations where domestic abusers possessing guns and
getting caught with those guns a federal crime. It also states that state and
local authorities will still handle these cases. However, federal laws and the
benefits gained by these laws may be applied when it is the most
appropriate course of action. International laws include S. 2279 and H.R.
5927 these laws were enacted to combat international violence against
women and girls. (Where Every Home is a Safe Home, 2005)
It also reauthorizes critical grant programs created by the original Violence
Against Women Act and subsequent legislation, establishes new programs,
and strengthens Federal laws. Finally, The Public Policy Office of the National
Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), located in the nations capitol,
is a national leader in the effort to develop and influence federal and state
legislation that positively affects the lives of domestic violence victims and
their children. NCADV works closely with domestic violence victims and
advocates at the local, state and national levels to identify the issues facing

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both domestic violence victims and their children, and the people who serve
them. (NCJRS, 2007)
Internationally
There are international domestic violence laws that have been
accomplished through the work of the United Nations. With the help of the
Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, the U.N. addresses issues
such as human rights violations. The organization also work to bring
awareness, promote education and recognize that domestic violence is not
only a violation of human rights, but responsibility need to be addressed by
each country in the U.N. and responsibility needs to be addressed
individually when it comes to protecting women from violence, punish the
perpetrators and make certain that the victims needs are met. (International
Domestic Violence Law, 2010)
Are these Policies Dictated by Local, State or Federal Statue-or
Combinations?
Each specific area, statewide, national and international is dictated
separately by state, federal and international efforts to fight the war on
domestic violence. Michigan does have a policy that allows an individual of
domestic violence file what is called a Domestic Relationship Personal
Protection Order. The problem with this law is that it must be subject to a
judges discretion. Nationally, in 1994, Congress passed the Violence Against
Women Act. This act (and the 1996 addition to the act) recognized that
domestic violence is a crime that is national and the federal laws needed to

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help any overburdened state and their local criminal justice systems.
Congress also passed changes to the Gun Control Act in 1994 and 1996 that
made certain situations where domestic abusers possessing guns and
getting caught with those guns a federal crime. It also states that state and
local authorities will still handle these cases. However, federal laws and the
benefits gained by these laws may be applied when it is the most
appropriate course of action. International laws include S. 2279 and H.R.
5927 these laws were enacted to combat international violence against
women and girls. (Where Every Home is a Safe Home, 2005)
What Works, What does not Work, Especially for at risk
Populations (Your Critique of the Current Policy)
There are some programs that are available that seem to be
working well. The first program is based in Michigan. It is called
the Judicial Oversight Demonstration Initiative. This program is run
through the Justice Department and what it does is bring together
courts, police departments, District Attorneys office, probation
departments and victim services. It develops closer working
relationships between each department so that there is a stronger
bond developed to keep the lines of communication open. Another
program that is working nationally is aimed toward educating hair
salon owners to recognize the signs of domestic abuse and they are
trained to encourage suspected victims to get help. This program,
which originated in Alabama, is called Cut it Out. San Diegos

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Family Justice Center has been successful in providing a one stop


shopping program for targeted individuals of abuse so they do not
have to run to different locations on different days. It is most likely
that the injured party is enduring issues such as housing,
transportation and money issues which limits their availability. This
program saves time and money for the injured party and it has been
very successful. The U.S. Center for Disease Control also has a
program that has worked well for them. It is called the Domestic
Violence Prevention Enhancement and Leadership Through Alliances
or DELTA. This program goes to different schools and puts on a play
for ninth grader. The play involves healthy relationship lessons
called Teens Talking About Relationships. It is so effective that it
was awarded the 2004 Outstanding Youth Volunteer Service Award
in 2004. Another program called Coaching Boys into Men is run
by the Family Violence Prevention Fund assists coaches by providing
them with training tools that encourages discipline and respectful
behavior toward their players. (www.endabuse.org) Joe Torres, who
was a manager of the New York Yankees, runs a similar program.
He put together the program because he suffered as a child when
his father abused his mother and that made him fearful. (Glazer,
1993)
How Long Has The Current Policy Been in Place? Who
Supports and Who Opposes the Policy?

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Year)
Interview One Advocate, Legislature Regarding their Opinion of
Current Policy
September 13, 2014
Dear Senator Stabenow,
I am a BSW Social Work student at Wayne State University. I am
taking a SOCIALWELFARE IN THE UNITED STATES: CURRENT PROGRAMS class
and in this class we are to write a paper on a policy that we believe needs to
be looked at and reconsidered with different ideas so that we can take an
issue that is not working head on and come up with an idea or ideas that
may contribute to a better result to the problem.
As a BSW student in their senior year, I am doing a two-semester
intern ship at Turning Point, a domestic violence shelter locating in Mt.
Clemens, MI. Because of this, I decided to write my paper on the effects of
domestic violence in our society. Part of my assignment is to ask a member

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of our legislature their opinion regarding our current policies, rules or


regulations in our state.
I would like to ask your opinion on a few questions that I have
regarding this issue. I would really appreciate it if you could take some time
to review it and get back to me. I understand that you are a very busy
person, so I would like to thank you in advance for taking the time to review
these questions and answer them.

My first question has to do with the definition of domestic violence


in Michigan, it states as follows:
As you probably already know, in the State of Michigan, domestic
violence is the occurrence of any of the following acts that do not occur as an
act of self-defense:
(1)Causing or attempting to cause physical or mental harm to a family
or household
member.
(2) Placing a family or household member in fear of physical or mental
harm.
(3) Causing or attempting to cause a family or household member to
engage in
involuntary sexual activity by force, threat of force, or duress.
(4) Engaging in activity toward a family or household member that
would cause a

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reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated,


threatened, harassed, or
molested.
A family or household member includes, a spouse or former
spouse, an person with whom you are or have resided with, a person whom
you have had or are having a dating or sexual relationship, a person with
who you are related to or have been by marriage, a person with whom you
have a child in common with, or any minor child of the persons described
above.
We see that one of the biggest problems today is that we do not
find any set rules in place when it comes to keeping a domestic violent
perpetrator out of the home, unless there is a PPO filed (which does not
always work) or the perpetrator goes to jail for a period of time. Each of
these scenarios usually will find the perpetrator back in the home after an
extended period of time, on most occasions. This can cause repeated
offenses toward the injured party. A targeted individual of domestic violence
who resides in Michigan can resource the Michigan Coalition Against
Domestic and Sexual Violence in Okemos, MI for help. There is also a 24hour hotline that an individual can call to get help, too. The state also has a
few handbooks to refer to if you are a targeted individual of domestic
violence or assault. There are also a few non-profit organizations that can
assist a targeted individuals of domestic violence assault. When researching
this information, I was perplexed by the lack of resources available through

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the State of Michigan. (Rockind,2012)


My first question to you is, in your opinion, do you think that there should
be a better program put in place so that we can ensure the victim of
domestic violence that his or her partner has been rehabilitated before
coming back to the home?
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
Another issue we see is that the police alone cannot curb domestic
violence. Do you think that we should develop a program where social
services, local authorities, probation and third sector services team up
together so that there is a joined-up approach to dealing with those who are
vulnerable to domestic violence so that it can be tackled it early to prevent it
from escalating? If so, where do you think that we could get funding for this
endeavor?
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________

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Our courts in Michigan can promote safety by taking away the rule
making power of the perpetrator. In order for this to be effective, the courts
need to review, reinforce and produce consequences for non-compliance. In
Michigan, the penalty for a:
Domestic Assault [MCL 750.81] (a victim need not be injured) is as
follows:
Criminal Penalties:
1st Conviction (misdemeanor): Up to 93 days in jail and/or $500 fine
2nd Conviction (misdemeanor): Up to 1 Year in jail and/or $1,000 fine
3rd Conviction (felony): Up to 2 Years in Prison and/or $2,500 fine
Aggravated Domestic Assault [MCL 750.81a] (Victim must receive
serious or aggravated

Injuries that may require medical attention)

Criminal Penalties:

1st Conviction (misdemeanor): Up to 1 Year in Jail and/or $1,000 fine

2nd Conviction (felony):


fine

Up to 2 Years in Prison and/or $2,5000

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In your opinion, do you think that these penalties are too harsh?

_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
____ .

Or, are these penalties too lenient?

____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
________

If you could change anything about these penalties, what would


it/they be?

_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
____

Another question involves another side of the issue. I found that in


Michigan, countless people are wrongfully accused of domestic violence

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every day. Often times, an accuser will make a false allegation of domestic
abuse out of anger or jealousy, or to gain the upper hand in a divorce or
child custody proceeding. Sometimes what appears to the police to be a
domestic battery was really an accident, or the arrested person having
acted in self-defense during a mutual struggle. In a struggle between a male
and a female, the male is usually the one arrested and charged even if the
female perpetrated the offense. Sometimes women file false police reports
indicating domestic violence just to get back at their partner. Although I
was unable to locate a good amount of information on this subject, I did find
that in Michigan, Judges treats cases such as this very seriously because
they constitute an attack on the judicial system, and incarceration is a
genuine possibility even for a first time offender. (Rockind,2012)
My question is, in regard to individual who filed a false police
report, do you feel that there needs to be better rules set in place so that
when a person is dishonest to the police and commits an act of perjury, and
do you think that a larger penalty would be imposed?
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____.
While conducting my research, I discovered that the rate of reported

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domestic violence issues has gone down over the past several years. This
could be due to the recent counseling program for perpetrators that was
recently raised from 26 weeks to 36 weeks long for counseling sessions.
Michigan has also recently enacted an assault with strangulation law that
can result in a 10-year felony. The rate of reports could have also gone
down for other reasons, too. For example, since our drop in the economy,
perhaps victims feel that they are better off being abused than becoming
homeless. The list of reasons can go on and on. My final question to you is,
do you know of, or can think of some policies that can be put in place in
Michigan so that the rate of domestic violence diminishes?
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_______
Thank you again for taking the time to read and hopefully answer
my questions regarding domestic violence. By writing this paper, my
mission is to produce some marked improvements involving domestic
violence. I believe that this issue right now is a hot button issue due to the
Ray Rice incident and this is a very good time to look at it since it is brought

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to the attention of so many Americans. Hopefully, I can play a part in this
by helping to alleviate some of this type of violence.
Sincerely,
Judith Brusseau
Wayne State University

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References

Clinton, William Jefferson. 1995. "Remarks on Signing the Violent Crime


Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994." University of Dayton Law
Review 20 (winter).
Crime Victim Compensation: An Overview. (2014). NACVCB. Retrieved
September 16, 2014, from http://www.nacvcb.org/index.asp?bid=14
Domestic Violence Counts: 2012 National Summary. (n.d.). Many Victims
Face Lack of Emergency Housing. Retrieved September 16, 2014, from
http://nnedv.org/resources/census/3418-2012-report.html
Domestic Violence. (2001, April 12). Michigan in Brief. Retrieved October 9,
2014, from
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Glazer, S. (1993, February 26). Violence Against Women. CQ Researcher
International Domestic Violence Law. (2010, March 10). Stop Violence
Against Women. Retrieved October 9, 2014, from
http://www.stopvaw.org/the_international_legal_framework
Jarrett, K. (2013, April 8). American Bar Association. Violence Against Women
Act. Retrieved October 7, 2014, from

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http://www.americanbar.org/advocacy/governmental_legislative_work/
priorities_policy/access_to_legal_services/vawa_home.html
Michigan in Brief. (2002, April 1). Domestic Violence. Retrieved September
16, 2014, from
http://www.michiganinbrief.org/edition07/Chapter5/DomesticViolence.
htm
Quarter of Women Suffer Severe Violence. (n.d.). The National Intimate
Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 . Retrieved September 16,
2014, from
http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/nisus/_report2010-a.pd
Rockind, N. (n.d.). Michigan DV Laws | Neil Rockind, PC. Neil Rockind PC.
Retrieved October 20, 2014, from
http://www.michigandomesticviolence.com/michigan-dv-laws/

Jarrett, K. (2013, April 8). American Bar Association. Violence Against Women
Act. Retrieved October 7, 2014, from
http://www.americanbar.org/advocacy/governmental_legislative_work/
priorities_policy/access_to_legal_services/vawa_home.html
Where every Home is a Safe Home. (2005, February 15). National Coalition
of Domestic Violence. Retrieved October 13, 2014, from
http://www.ncadv.org/publicpolicy/

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