Domestic Violence

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Book Section

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Publication Title

A Guide to Mastery in Clinical Nursing: The Comprehensive Reference


Springer Publishing Company, LLC

Publisher Location

New York, NY

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Domestic violence (DV), also known as family or intimate partner violence, is obvious in the Code of Hammurabi (1780 BCE), ancient laws designed to guide male heads of household in the infliction of punishment to control members of their family and property (King, 2008). Legal thinking evolved, and in the 1700s, a legal decision curtailed carte blanche violence against wives, apprentices, and children by defining the “Rule of Thumb,” which was a common law limiting penalties to a whip or stick size—no bigger than the man’s thumb! In 1871, first to deny Great Britain’s custom of wife beating, the State of Alabama prosecuted a husband for assault and battery, codifying the wife’s citizen rights and protections under the U.S. Constitution (Supreme Court of Alabama, 1871, p.3). Although greater society believes that DV is a “family matter,” legislation passed since the 1970s squarely identifies DV behavior as assault, warranting criminal justice intervention (Erez, 2002). Important to nurses referring victims, DV legislation guarantees victims access to community support programs funded by the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (Family Violence Prevention and Service Programs, 2016).


Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence