DV before 1970
It was generally accepted both by law and society that husbunds had the right to beat their wives and children. Before the 19th century, a women would be saw of comitting petty treason if they had been found guilty of accusing their husbund, which would be much more serious than if a man had killed his wife.
It was also believed there was a "rule of thumb" about what level of violence was acceptable. This meant a man could beat his wife with a stick, so long as the stick was not thicker than his thumb.
Why were the authorities so slow?
- The male dominated authorities did not want to interfere in private family matters
- Before 1918, women had little power and all laws were made by men.
- Domestic Violence was seen as a problem of Drunkenness and Disorder.
- Women were often too scared to speak out.
- Laws were enforced by men, and the all-male police force was reluctant to intervene.
Forces for change- why did it become a crime after
- 1918 women were allowed to vote- for the first time MPs have to listen to womens concerns.
- After WW2- New ideas on gov and the role of it starting to change. For example NHS and Child protection
- Media- More coverage and starting to appear in newspapers
- Women's liberation groups in the 1960's became popular and pushed for change.
- In 1971 Erin Pizzey set up the first women's refuge in the UK. This was soon campaignged across UK to help improve support for women. This put increased pressure on the gov.
- MP Jack Ashley in 1971 became the first MP to discuss DV in parliament and campaigned about it.
Domestic Violence becomes a crime
1976 Domestic Violence Act: enabled victims to get protection from the courts
1991: Rape within marriage classed as a criminal offence in England and Wales.
1996 The Family Law Act: Gave extra protection to victims of violent partners and made arrest automatic in cases were violence was used or threatened.
2004 Domestic Violence and Victims Act: Gave all victims (male and female) the same protection. Increased power of police and courts.