Domestic Violence Should Be Criminalised

Alex Lew, CFA
3 min readMar 25, 2023

An Analysis of the Issue

The issue of domestic violence has been a controversial topic for years. The recent case in which a man beats his daughter to find his wife’s whereabouts has sparked a heated debate about whether or not domestic violence should be a criminal offence. This article aims to explore this issue and analyse the arguments for and against the criminalisation of domestic violence.

Definition of Domestic Violence

Before we delve into the issue, it is essential to understand what domestic violence entails. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), domestic violence is “any behaviour within an intimate relationship that causes physical, psychological, or sexual harm to those in the relationship.” Domestic violence is not limited to physical violence but includes emotional abuse, coercion, and controlling behaviour.

Current Status of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is not considered a criminal offence in many countries, including China. Instead, it is often handled through mediation, counselling, or civil law. However, this approach has not been effective in addressing the issue. Many victims are reluctant to report domestic violence due to fear of reprisals or social stigma, and those who do say it often receive inadequate protection.

Arguments for the Criminalization of Domestic Violence

There are several reasons why domestic violence should be criminalised.

Firstly, criminalising domestic violence conveys that such behaviour is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. It is a way of acknowledging the seriousness of the issue and the harm it causes. This can help to deter perpetrators from engaging in domestic violence.

Secondly, criminalising domestic violence can provide victims with better protection. If domestic violence is treated as a criminal offence, the police can intervene and protect victims. This will ensure that victims are not left at the mercy of their abusers.

Thirdly, criminalising domestic violence can help to change attitudes towards domestic violence. If domestic violence is treated as a criminal offence, it will be viewed as a serious crime rather than a private matter between two individuals. This can help to change the social norms surrounding domestic violence and encourage victims to speak out.

Arguments against the Criminalization of Domestic Violence

Despite the above arguments, there are also reasons why some people oppose the criminalisation of domestic violence.

One of the main arguments against criminalising domestic violence is that it is a private matter between two individuals, and the state should not interfere in personal affairs. Proponents of this argument argue that domestic violence should be dealt with through mediation and counselling rather than criminal law.

Another argument against criminalisation is that it may lead to false accusations. Critics argue that criminalising domestic violence may encourage people to make false accusations against their partners, leading to innocent people being wrongly accused and punished.

Some concerns criminalising domestic violence may lead to the breakdown of families. Some argue that if domestic violence is outlawed, it may result in more divorces and family breakdowns, which could have negative consequences for children.

Conclusion

In conclusion, domestic violence is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. While there are arguments for and against the criminalisation of domestic violence, it is clear that the current approach is not working. Domestic violence is a crime, and it should be treated as such. Criminalising domestic violence will send a clear message that such behaviour will not be tolerated, provide victims with better protection, and help to change attitudes towards domestic violence. The government should take action to criminalise domestic violence and provide support to victims to help them escape abusive relationships. Only by working together can we end domestic violence and create a safer, more just society.

Backlinks

“National Statistics Domestic Violence Fact Sheet”, NCADV, Aug 2022, https://ncadv.org/STATISTICS

“剖析中国《反家暴法》的立法与实践 — — 专访公益律师吕孝权” https://news.un.org/zh/story/2020/12/1072862

“Violence against women”, WHO, 9 March 2021, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/violence-against-women

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