Domestic Violence Law in New York City: Prediction and impacts
Sociology of Law
New York University
Domestic Violence Law in New York City: Prediction and impacts
As an independent consultant for the City of New York, I have been asked to evaluate new legislation involving the implementation of a law in regards to domestic violence. I will first make predictions about the short term effects of implementing this law and the factors that will impede its effectiveness or prove its effectiveness. Then I will predict the long term effects of this law and the factors that will strengthen its application and acceptance or show it to be ineffective and in need of further assessment and revision. I will then devise a study to assess and compare the impacts of this law before, during, and after the fact.
Immediately after implementing this legislation, the positive effects of this law will be small and in some cases detrimental to the well being of the victim. Domestic violence is characterized by physical and mental abuse at the hands of an intimate partner residing in the household of the victim. Once the perpetrator is arrested, it is more than likely that the perpetrator, once released, will return to the residence and continue to physically or mentally abuse their partner. This due to the fact that since the law is relatively new the penalty will more than likely be just enough to satisfy these feminist groups but not enough to actually deter future occurrences.
Initially without the accumulation of proper research on the effects of domestic violence law after it is implemented, there is no way to determine if the current penalties attached to the crime are in fact decreasing the occurrences of domestic violence or in fact is a reliable deterrent for the prevention of future acts. For this reason the short term effectiveness of this law will be impeded by a period of trial and error as the system gets an overall view and adjusts the severity of the punishment accordingly. Due to the fact that the punishment of the offender will be minor and short lived initially, I speculate that there will be an increase in violence towards the victim in retaliation for the initial arrest. Also I foresee an increase in the amount of emergency room visits associated with violent acts such as cuts, scrapes, bruises, broken bones, and concussions. I also predict that there will be an increase in suicide of victims due to the ongoing affects of mental anguish and the increased physical and mental abuse at the hands of these now provoked assaulters.
These slaps on the wrist for the perpetrators will have another negative effect on the well being of the victims. These victims will more than likely develop mistrust for the law enforcement establishment and be driven into a world of secrecy and shame where more and more victims will not report occurrences of abuse in fear of retaliatory violence. This fact will further impede the gathering of information to determine the effectiveness of this law and the lack of accurate statistics will water down the seriousness of the prevalence and incidence of domestic violence, which will lead to a staggering of affective legislation reform to protect the nameless and unreported victims of domestic violence.
The long term affects of implementing this law will be more optimistic and beneficial for the victims of domestic violence. As the trial and error period shows the flaws of the initially implemented law and the seriousness of domestic violence comes into full view, law enforcement and policy makers would have made the necessary changes to increase the effectiveness of the law to ensure the safety of domestic violence victims. Through studies conducted on the effects of domestic violence law officials will now have a clearer picture of both the positive and negative impacts of this law and can now determine future steps to take towards prevention, treatment, and awareness.
Due to knowledge of the negative consequences of low penalties for assaulters and the impact it has on the victims when their spouses return home, stricter penalties would be implemented to fit the crime. These stricter penalties would entail orders of protection to prevent the assaulters from returning to the home and continuing to harm their spouses. These penalties would also include longer jail sentences and mandatory anger management classes in response to the increased number of domestic violence related fatalities that have occurred in the past. Due to the media exposure on crimes, assaults, murders, and suicides related to domestic violence, more and more people will become aware of the signs of domestic violence and will be quicker to intercede. The state government will create awareness campaigns that educate and bring to public awareness that domestic violence will not be tolerated in any shape, form, or fashion.
Hospitals and health clinics will be mandated by law to report suspected instances of domestic violence and will be trained to determine, assess, and treat all forms of domestic abuse. Support agencies will be formed and operated by the city as well as private firms to aid the victims of domestic violence and to assist in easing the emotional, financial, and familial burdens associated with domestic violence. Due to the increased awareness of domestic abuse the incidence of domestic violence will decrease. The stricter penalties of longer jail sentences will also make the incidence of domestic violence decrease and will act as a deterrent to would be assaulters. The likelihood of victims in reporting domestic abuse would increase due to the awareness level, stricter penalties, and support services available which would make the incidence of domestic violence decrease. So overall with the development and increasing expansion of domestic violence legislation, we will see a dramatic drop in domestic violence related crimes and see an increase in awareness programs, support services, and preventive measures to ensure the increased safety of domestic violence victims.
Proposed Domestic Violence Study
First I would gather all previous studies done on the effectiveness of domestic violence law in urban areas for the cities that have already implemented such legislation. I would determine the similarities between these studies so I can generalize these constants to the city of New York. Through these generalizations I can determine factors that have been proven valid and reliable measures of domestic violence law and proceed to collect data that would be accurate in assessing the impact of this law. Conversely, I can also determine factors that differ among the cities as a predictor of what aspects of a certain population vary in regards to domestic violence. Through these analyses of previous studies a holistic overview of the intricacies and diversities of domestic violence law can be evaluated.
I would need to collect information at three separate time periods (a longitudinal study), once prior to the implementation of the law, once shortly after the law has been implemented, and once again at some future date. The first data collection would be used to create a baseline or average prevalence of domestic violence in order to assess a change over time. The second data collection will serve as a mid point in which to assess the short term effects of implementation of the law. Finally the third data collection will serve as an indicator of the long term effects of the law and whether there has been any significant impact on the incidence of domestic violence across time.
Time period 1- To gather baseline information on the prevalence of domestic violence before the implemented law, I would first gather records (archival data) for suicide and attempted suicide rates for the last five years prior to the implemented law. Since domestic violence is ongoing physical and mental abuse towards the victim, I would assume domestic violence victims are more likely to commit suicide in a desperate attempt to end the abuse. Also I would gather police report records of assaults that have occurred where the assaulter was a spouse or romantic partner and the victim was cohabitating with the assaulter. These assaults would be representative of the characteristics of domestic violence but would not officially been declared as such since no statute existed at the time. Finally I would collect hospital and health clinic statistics of the occurrence of patients per year that were treated for assault related injuries such as broken bones, contusions, and fractures.
Time period 2- I will again gather suicide rates, police reports, and hospital statistics but only for the current year the law was implemented. I will analyze this data for any differences or similarities to the baseline data to determine if there has been any significant change due to the implementation of the law. These comparisons will demonstrate the short term effects of the law on the incidence of domestic violence. For police reports I will now also collect data on the arrest rates of assaulters actually arrested for domestic violence to compare against data I will collect for time period 3. I will also now collect court records to track the rates of domestic violence related cases that have been prosecuted for that year as well to compare to future data.
Time period 3- for this time period I will collect suicide rates, police reports, and hospital statistics for the last four years after the collection of time period two data. I will compare suicide rates for all three periods to plot the trends in suicide and attempted suicide rates for before, during, and after implementation of the law to see if there was a change in suicide rates between time periods 1 through 3. I will compare police reports between all three time periods for assaults to see if there was a change in occurrence before, during, and after the law. Then I will compare police reports for direct arrests of domestic violence to see if there was an impact in occurrence for short term and long term affects. Finally I will compare court records to also assess if there has been an increase or decrease in domestic violence related prosecutions in determining if the law has been effective over time.