In the early 1980s the subject of violence in marriage was in danger of being overlooked once again, as new social problems dominated the political scene, and the Government pursued policies of retrenchment that were likely to deprive refuges of the necessary central government support. Yet improvements in the services for victims of marital violence were still urgently needed, as this study shows.
Originally published in 1983, this book is based on research into the way practitioners in the medical, legal, and social services viewed marriage and violence at the time. It examines marital violence from a number of perspectives. Taking samples from groups of doctors, solicitors, social workers, health visitors, and women’s aid refuges, the authors have investigated the ways in which different agencies and practitioners respond to the problem of marital violence. They use a combination of statistical evidence and interviews with practitioners and the victims themselves to build up a picture of the extent of the problem – how it is defined, how much comes to the attention of the public services – and of the ways in which the attitudes and professional status of the practitioners form a response that is in varying degrees adequate or otherwise to deal with the problems that exist.
The authors produce evidence to show that marital violence is still widespread, though largely hidden because of the way privacy determines family relationships. They show how present provisions are inadequate to deal with the problem, and make recommendations about ways of improving the services available to help battered women.
Acknowledgements Part I 1. Introduction 2. How Much Marital Violence Comes to the Attention of Public Services? 3. Some Social Characteristics of Victims of Marital Violence Part II 4. Problems of Definition 5. Problems of Explanation 6. Questions of Evidence 7. Issues of Privacy and Confidentiality 8. Ambivalence in Victims and Practitioners 9. Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse 10. Role Definition 11. Perceptions of Other Services Part III 12. The Significance of Agency Choice 13. Some Policy Considerations. Appendix – The Practitioner Study: Mode of Sampling and Characteristics of Practitioners. References. Name Index. Subject Index.