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domestic violence

n. the continuing crime and problem of the physical beating of a wife, girlfriend or children, usually by the woman's male partner (although it can also be female violence against a male). It is now recognized as an antisocial mental illness. Sometimes a woman's dependence, low self-esteem and fear of leaving cause her to endure this conduct or fail to protect a child. Prosecutors and police often face the problem that a battered woman will not press charges or testify due to fear, intimidation and misplaced "love." Increasingly domestic violence is attracting the sympathetic attention of law enforcement, the courts and community services, including shelters and protection for those in danger.

See also: aggravated assault  assault and battery 

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The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications