The problem of domestic violence has been the subject of increasing national concern. In response to that concern, states have enacted legislation providing protection to victims of domestic violence, encouraging improved police enforcement of protection law's, and constructing appropriate legal sanctions against abusers. Drafting comprehensive legislation to address this problem is difficult because both civil and criminal remedies are needed, because the needs of battered women are diverse and complex, and because effective protection requires a coordinated response by courts, law enforcement agencies, mental health personnel, and the bar. While some new legislation on wife abuse has been enacted in a majority of states, few states have addressed the fill range of available remedies, or made relief available to all victims of domestic violence.
In this Article, Ms. Lerman presents a Model Act that consolidates and addresses remedies needed for domestic violence in one comprehensive statute. Ms. Lerman asserts that the primary goal of any lai' on domestic violence should be to protect the victim. Accordingly, the Model Act facilitates the victim's ability to gain access to the courts and to request protection. The Model Act also acknowledges the needfor improved police response to domestic violence and specifies particular police duties. In addition, the Model Act recognizes that domestic violence may be handled as a civil matter, as a criminal matter, or both. Finally, the Model Act considers the appropriate legal treatment of abusers and ihchudes both punitive and rehabilitative dispositional options.
Lisa G. Lerman, A Model State Act: Remedies for Domestic Abuse, 21 HARV. J. ON LEGIS. 61 (1984).