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University of Miami Race & Social Justice Law Review



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JOHNSON: This presentation envisions what a better domestic violence legal system might look like for persons subjected to domestic abuse who have not had their needs met or who have been harmed by the current legal system. The paper reframes the focus of the civil legal system from a paradigm of safety into a paradigm of security, including economic, housing, health, and relationship security. This reframing permits a focus on the domestic violence legal system and its intersecting systems of oppression such as race, gender, class, and ethnicity.

Currently, the domestic violence legal system targets short-term physical safety of the person subjected to abuse. This safety is accomplished through physical separation of the person who was subjected to abuse from the person who committed the abuse. For instance, this targeting exists in the mandatory criminal justice system's response to domestic violence with mandatory arrest and no drop prosecution policies and with the remedies available in the civil protection order, such as the stay away, no contact and ejectment from the home provisions. The goals of the domestic violence civil legal and funding policies should be to decrease domestic violence and to help persons subjected to abuse lead satisfied lives. To achieve this shift, we need to reframe the domestic violence policy and legal system from solely safety to security.



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