Victimology

Law and Doctrine

Marital Unity Doctrine

1775

William Blackstone explained coverture and the Marital Unity Doctrine: “The husband and wife are one person in law and the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended in the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband, under whose wing, protection, and cover, she performs everything. Essentially, he has the right to keep her in line, as he completely responsible for her wrongdoings and is entitled to chastise her appropriately.

Declaration of Sentiments

1848

Declaration of Sentiments: the women objected to the status of a married woman: "In the covenant of marriage, she is compelled to promise obedience to her husband, he becoming, to all intents and purposes, her master —the law giving him power to deprive her of her liberty, and to administer chastisement."

Maryland Law

1882

Maryland enacted a law punishing wife beaters with 40 lashes or a year in jail

The Social Welfare Act

1939

The Social Welfare Act: an act that requires the reporting of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an adult by certain persons, and permits the reporting of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an adult by all persons. It includes the legal requirement for reporting, investigating and responding to abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an adult.

New Zealand

1963

New Zealand implemented the first state-run Criminal Compensation fund

California Legislation

1965

Legislation enacted in over 30 states to require physicians to report child abuse cases. Specifically in California, changes occur in the mandatory reporting laws and special criminal statute. California was also the first state to establish a Criminal Compensation Fund

Law Enforcement Assistance Administration

1970 - 1975

Law Enforcement Assistance Administration funded the first ten victim/witness assistance programs

Legislative Reform

1970

Since 1970s, every state has enacted legislative reform to bolster the criminal justice system’s response to domestic violence

Ontario Family Law Act

1978

Family Law Act in Ontario: Married women finally officially have the right to own property.

Proposition 8

1982

California voters adopted Proposition Eight: officiated state legislation that included a victim’s Bill of Rights

Police Academies

1990

Police Academies first began to train their officers in domestic violence situations. Crisis intervention strategies slowly began to take place.

Firearms

1996

It becomes illegal for a person convicted of domestic violence crimes to possess firearms

Amber Alerts

1996

Amber Alerts: launched in 1996 after the abduction of Amber Hagerman. Officially implemented by the Child Alert Foundation in 1998

Mandated HIV Testing

1999

According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, nearly every state has some sort of law mandating HIV testing for sexual offenders. However, this is a hotly debated issue and not consistently addressed.

NJ Anti-Bullying Laws

2003

New Jersey enacts anti-bullying laws, the first of its kind in the United States

Restorative Justice

2004

The National Institute of Corrections found significant numbers indicating implementation of Resorative Justice Programs for offenders

Federal Changes

14th Amendment

1868

14th amendment passed: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Jim Crow Laws

1889 - 1894

Jim Crow Laws: 58 out of 60 men who were arrested for beating their wives were black, directly reflecting the discriminatory policy of the police to target black men based on racial issues.

Divorce Laws

1900 - 1910

Divorce laws: slowly began to be liberalized and wives could begin seeking divorces on the grounds of cruelty.

Domestic Relations Courts

1910

Domestic Relations Courts: courts began to offer counseling and support to female victims.

19th Amendment

1919

19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States: prohibits any US citizen to be denied the right to vote based on sex. The Amendment was ratified in August of 1920

Uniform Crime Reports

1931

Beginning of the Uniform Crime Reports. Mechanism for police departments in varying jurisdictions to exchange information, and for the FBI to collect and classify data about crime and offenses.

National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement

1931

National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement notes that the administration of justice suffers due to the economic and psychological burdens of those who testify in court.

National Crime Survey

1972

The National Crime Survey (NCS) first circulates to 72,000 US households

Title IX

1972

Education Amendments of 1972 states "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

Victim and Witness Protection Act

1982

Congress passes Victim and Witness Protection Act: makes granting victim restitution the norm in federal sentencing

Victims Crime Act

1984

Victims Crime Act of 1984: established a federally financed victims compensation fund that dispenses hundreds of millions of dollars in the form of compensation, assistance, and grants.

NIBRS

1985

National Incident-Based Reporting System: improved upon UCR data by collecting less detailed and various crime data. It also collects detailed information on the victim, victim-offender relationship, injuries, and property loss.

VOCA

1988

States first begin to receive funding from the Victims of Crime Act

Clery Act

1990

Clery Act passes: this is a federal statute requiring that all colleges and universities who participate in federal financial aid must report information about crime on their campuses.

Jacob Wetterling Crimes Act

1994

Jacob Wetterling Crimes against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act: first established guidelines to track offenders and required states to continually track sex offenders for the rest of their lives.

Victims Legislation Package

1994

Victims Legislation Package: created as a part of the Justice Assistance Act and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994

Violence Against Women Act

1994

Violence Against Women Act: granting female victims federal rights protection

Anti Sexual Harassment Act

1995

Anti Sexual Harassment Act prohibits workplace sexual advances, discourse, and "quid pro quo" sexual favors

Megan's Law

1996

Required states to collect and publically disseminate information about sex offenders to protect the public as necessary

Protection of Children from Sexual Predators Act

1998

Prohibits federal funding to programs that enable federal prisoners to have internet access without supervision

Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act

2000

Congress passed the revised Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000. This act did not address civil rights (like the Violence Against Women Act) but does discuss Strengthening Law Enforcement to Reduce Violence Against Women, Strengthening Services to Victims of Violence, Limiting the Effects of Violence on Children, Strengthening Education and Training to Combat Violence against Women

Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act

2000

Sex offenders must inform their institutions of higher education about their registration status. The institution then must be relayed to law enforcement and campus police

Justice for All Act

2004

Justice for All Act: enhances protections in federal crimes and provides additional funding for witness and victim protection

Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act

2006

A federal act that mandates that states organize sex offenders into three tiers, keeps constant track of their whereabouts according to their tier, and maintains consistant records about each offender.

Case Law

Bradley v. Mississippi

1827

The Supreme Court ruled that although a husband is legally allowed to control his wife, he must provide reasonable justification for the measures taken.

Delaware Ruling

1828

Delaware case: Ruled it was unacceptable to hit his wife because in addition to having to control her, he is also responsible for affording her protection.

New York Ruling

1829

New York Court ruled opposite 1828 Delaware decision and held that a pregnant woman can indeed be struck by her husband

State of North Carolina v. Jesse Black

1864

State of North Carolina v. Jesse Black: the court ruled that the law permits a husband to use whatever degree of force is necessary in order to control his wife. The law will not “invade the domestic forum” and intervene unless there is a serious excess of violence or permanent damage inflicted.

State v. Rhodes

1868

State v. Rhodes: North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that despite the fact that the act of battering and whipping a wife would be subject to penalty had the victim not been the defendant’s wife, they still cannot convict him of assault and battery.

Knight v. Knight

1871

Knight v. Knight: Iowa Supreme Court denied a woman divorce from her husband on the grounds that he was cruel and physically abusive towards her because of her spirited personality. Ruled that physical cruelty is not grounds for divorce.

Fulgham v. State of Alabama

1871

Fulgham v. State of Alabama: Husbands do not have the right to physically abuse wives, even with restraint or in moderation. Wives deserve protection from husbands under the law.

Commonwealth v. McAfee

1871

Commonwealth v McAfee: Massachusetts court rejected a man’s manslaughter defense for killing his drunk wife. They ruled that beating and striking a wife is not one of the rights conferred on a husband by marriage.

State of North Carolina v. Richard Oliver

1874

State of North Carolina v. Richard Oliver: the court expressed concern about excess of physical abuse towards wives, but again advised against interfering in domestic relationships.

Thompson v. Thompson

1910

Thompson v. Thompson: US Supreme Court ruled that a wife has no cause for action on an assault and battery charge against her husband because it would lead to all sorts of accusations of one spouse against the other.

Mapp v. Ohio

1961

Supreme Court of the United States declared that evidence obtained in violation of Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure cannot be used as evidence in a court of law.

Self v. Self

1962

Self v. Self: California Supreme Court agreed with earlier court findings that a spouse’s right to sue would “destroy the peace and harmony of the house.” However, they claimed that the assumption that there is even peace and harmony in a home after spousal abuse is outdated, and therefore a spouse is now allowed to seek action against another for physical abuse.

Miranda v. Arizona

1966

Miranda v. Arizona: The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that statements made in response to interrogation will only be admissible as evidence in a court of law if the prosecution can show that the defendant was informed of his rights prior to interrogation, and was able to show that he fully understood them. This led to the creation of the Miranda rights: warnings given by police to criminal suspects that inform them of their rights

Baker v. City of New York

1966

Baker v. City of New York: Sandra Baker sues NYC, claiming that public officials failed to protect her from her abusive estranged husband, even though she had obtained a court order. This case expands the equal protection clause to women who need protection from their husbands

New York and California

1977

Scott v. Hart (California) and Bruno v. Codd (New York): non-governmental agencies file for legal action against police departments in Oakland, California and New York, New York for failing to protect women from abuse.

Thurman v. Torrington

1984

Thurman v. Torrington: Torrington, Connecticut is ordered to compensate Tracey Thurman after the police department repeatedly ignored her requests for protection against her husband

Weishaupt v. Commonwealth

1984

Weishaupt v. Commonwealth: Virginia courts ruled that a woman cannot be forced to have sex with her husband

Booth v. Maryland

1987

Booth v. Maryland: The Supreme Court of the United States addressed whether or not the jury can utilize and consider a victim impact statement during the sentencing phase of a capital murder trial. They ruled it was an “constitutionally unacceptable risk” and violates a defendant’s 8th Amendment rights against cruel and unusual punishment.

South Carolina v. Gathers

1989

South Carolina v. Gathers: The Supreme Court of the United States held that a defendant’s constitutional rights against cruel and unusual punishment are violated if a Victim Impact Statement is utilized during the sentencing phase of a trial. VIS can only be admissible if it directly relates to the circumstances of the crime

Payne v. Tennessee

1991

Payne v. Tennessee: Supreme Court of the United States upheld the right of victims to make Victim Impact Statements unless it is shown that the use of the statements is highly prejudicial and unfair. This amended South Carolina v. Gathers

Kansas v. Hendricks

1997

Kansas v Hendricks: United States Supreme Court enacted procedures for indefinite civil commitment of sexual offenders decided to be dangerous due to mental abnormalities

US v. Morrison

1999

US v. Morrison: Supreme Court of the United States ruled that Congress cannot enact a federal remedy in the form of the Violence Against Women Act. Individuals committing crimes motivated by gender bias cannot be held accountable on a federal level

The Estate of Maria Marcias v. Mark Ihde

2002

The Estate of Maria Marcias v. Mark Ihde: Courts grant the first monetary award to a victim of domestic violence

People and Movements

James Kent

1827

Claimed that Marital Unity still holds. The husband should always be the keeper and guardian of the wife. He has ultimate superiority and has the right to take away her liberties.

Seneca Falls Women's Rights Convention

1848

Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention: first movement to analyze husbands rights to chastise wives as symbols of the political system and dominance of men over women

Belton, Texas

1866

Martha White McWhirter converts her home into one of the first shelters for abused women seeking refuge from their violent husbands

The Women's Journal

1876

Lucy Stone publishes The Women’s Journal, providing detailed and graphic accounts of spousal abuse in an effort to bring attention to domestic violence.

Chicago Protective Agency

1885

Chicago established the Chicago Protective Agency for Women and Children, providing legal aid, court advocacy, and personal assistance to the women seeking help.

President Theodore Roosevelt

1904

President Theodore Roosevelt becomes the first president to publicly denounce wife-beating in his annual address to Congress

Chicago's Widespread Influence

1915 - 1920

Chicago Protective Agency: helped women secure legal separations, divorces, and equitable distribution of possessions. Women were able to spend up to 4 weeks seeking refuge and shelter. 25 various cities copied this model of Protective Agency.

Alice Paul

1923

Alice Paul introduced the Equal Rights Amendment to Congress for the first time

Hans von Hentig

1941

Hans von Hentig: The Criminal and His Victim. He proposed that the victim can often be a contributing cause to the criminal act. He established 13 categories to sort victims in to determine their likelihood of being victimized

Benjamin Mendelsohn

1956

Benjamin Mendelsohn: the “father” of victimology. Mendelsohn outlined a 6-step classification of victims based on legal considerations to determine the degree of the fault of the victim. Primarily used to relieve victim of culpability

Marvin E. Wolfgang

1958

Marvin E. Wolfgang: defined victim-precipitated behavior in terms of rape. Put forth several circumstances under which a victim can actually precipitate her own rape. He said that one should not always assume a victim is a passive individual seeking to withdraw from a sexual assault situation.

Stephen Schafer

1968

Stephen Schafer: The Victim and His Criminal. He studied the victim-offender relationship and explicitly put forth 7 categories a victim can fall into regarding how culpable they are

Menachem Amir

1971

Menachem Amir: claimed that 19% of forcible rape is victim-precipitated. He listed various factors under which a victim “tantalizes” an offender and provokes their own attack. Suggested a victim might actually have a hidden desire to be controlled and tamed through rape

St. Paul, Minnesota

1973

First US battered women’s shelter opened in St. Paul, Minnesota

EMERGE

1977

First treatment for male offenders, EMERGE, opened in Boston, Massachusetts

President Reagan

1982

President Regan appointed a task force on crime victims, who then reported that victims were being treated merely “as appendages of a system appallingly out of balance.”

US Surgeon General

1988

US Surgeon General declared domestic abuse the leading health hazard for women

George W. Bush

2002

George W. Bush, in a speech at the Department of Justice, stated that victim’s rights are equally important to the due process rights that are guaranteed to criminal defendants

National Stalking Awareness Month

2004

The National Center for Victims of Crime creates National Stalking Awareness Month in January