Legal Issues in Violence toward Adults

  • Lisa G. Lerman
  • Naomi R. Cahn


Until the 1970s, family violence was largely ignored by the police, lawyers, judges, and legislators. Law enforcement officials generally refused to intervene in domestic violence cases, viewing them as private matters to be handled within the family. A victim of spouse abuse1 could get a divorce on the basis of her husband’s cruelty, or she could get a piece of paper issued by a court warning her husband not to abuse her again. Mental health professionals responded in a similar fashion by treating the violence as a relational problem caused by both parties, rather than as a crime committed by one party against another.


Domestic Violence Mental Health Professional Family Violence Mental Health System Battered Woman 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa G. Lerman
    • 1
  • Naomi R. Cahn
    • 2
  1. 1.Columbus School of LawCatholic University of AmericaUSA
  2. 2.Sex Discrimination ClinicGeorgetown University Law CenterUSA

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