Domestic Violence in Federal Court: Abused Women as Victims, Survivors and Offenders
38 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2006
While domestic violence is typically thought of as a state crime, this article discusses domestic violence related prosecutions in federal court. Four federal crimes are studied: interstate domestic violence, interstate travel to violate a restraining order, and two possession of weapon offenses committed by individuals who are either subject to a qualifying restraining order or have been convicted of a qualifying domestic violence misdemeanor. The article analyzes data concerning referrals, filings, convictions and sentencings of these crimes, and discusses issues concerning federal prosecutions, including the extent of federal/state cooperation. The rights of domestic violence victims in federal court are explained, with particular attention given to concerns about safety, impact statements and restitution. In addition, the article describes the various ways in which domestic violence impacts women who are prosecuted in federal court for a variety of crimes, and argues that domestic violence should be taken into account when a female offender is sentenced for a crime that relates to her history of abuse.
Keywords: domestic violence, sentencing, female offenders, victims, criminal law
JEL Classification: H77, I39, J16, K14, K42
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