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Family Violence and Law

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Nancy's husband, Richard, terrorizes her. She is isolated. Richard does not allow Nancy to communicate with friends or family. He does not allow her an automobile. She only goes shopping when she is with Richard, who also controls all the money. Richard continually puts her down, calling her names to humiliate her, is hypercritical of everything she does, indicating how worthless she is. On the other hand, Richard never hits Nancy, although he tends to make his point by pounding his fist on the table, the wall, or any other available surface.

How would you categorize Richard's actions? Has he committed a crime? Can he be punished for his actions? Do you believe crimes should be defined by the extent of physical harm done? Why or why not?

Mary, age 11, was caught stealing food at school. Her parents decided that the only way to "control" her behavior was to lock her away. Mary's room contained no furniture, the windows were covered with foil and sealed shut, and the carpet was removed leaving only a rough plywood floor with strips of nails, once used to hold the carpet in place, around the perimeters. There were no light bulbs in the room, and with the windows covered and sealed, there was no natural source of light. When found, Mary weighed only 59 lb, about 30 lb shy of the average weight for her age and height.

The local police were notified. How do you think the police would react to this situation today? How, in your opinion, would they have reacted in the early to late nineteenth century? Compare both the reactions, and discuss how the evolution of child welfare laws affects child protection today.

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How would you categorize Richard's actions? Has he committed a crime? Can he be punished for his actions? Do you believe crimes should be defined by the extent of physical harm done? Why or why not?

Richard's actions are not criminal but they are abusive. He cannot be punished because he has the freedom of speech afforded by the United States constitution. In addition, if the wife wanted the verbal abuse to cease, she has the autonomy to leave and thus the abuse ...

Solution Summary

Family violence and law are examined. How categorize Richard's actions are determined.

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See Also This Related BrainMass Solution

Family Violence - Officer Keeping His Job

Tony has been a police officer for 19 years, knows the law, and is aware of mandatory arrest policies in his state, regarding domestic violence. But Tony is of the old school and believes that couples should resolve their own problems in whatever way they see fit and not utilize public resources. He also believes that it is a man's prerogative to rule his private domain and that sometimes wives need to be "put in their place."

Tony himself is not against using force to put his own wife, Barbara, "in her place." But one day, Barbara cannot take the battering any longer, and she calls up Tony's supervising officer to report the abuse. Tony is relieved of duty- and his weapons - pending an investigation. He is subsequently arrested, tried, and convicted on misdemeanor charges of spouse battering. Because it is his first offense, Tony receives probation. But when he returns to the department to resume his position, he finds he no longer has a job because under the Lautenberg Amendment he lost his right to carry a gun.

Do you believe Tony should be allowed to carry a gun and keep his job? If yes, why? If not, what options does he have? Justify your responses. How does the Gun Control Act of 1968 apply here?
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