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This Article examines the development of an inverse relationship in the legal system between the concern accorded domestic violence cases and the concern accorded domestic violence victims. The Article analyzes both philosophical approaches and concrete mechanisms currently used by the justice system to address domestic violence. Concluding that the current system- though it signals a serious institutional attitude toward addressing domestic violence – has failed to increase victim safety, this Article advocates for a paradigm shift in the legal system’s approach to domestic violence.

Specifically, the Article analyzes the viability of a paradigm shift in the philosophy behind current policies that emphasize intervention by system actors to a philosophy that focuses on victim safety. The Article demonstrates that an emphasis on victim safety would encourage system actors to tailor policies to the needs of specific cases and victims, would increase victim trust in the system, and result in better justice system outcomes.

GW Paper Series

GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-134, GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2012-134

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