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Despite over two decades of reform, fundamental failures persist in the justice system's response to domestic violence. Society now widely accepts elimination of intrafamily abuse as a crucial goal, and it has been illegal in most states since the late nineteenth century. But the problem remains one of epidemic proportions. As documented in Part I of this Article, battering by husbands, ex-husbands, or lovers is the single largest cause of injury to women in the United States, and accounts for approximately thirty percent of all murders of women. Physical aggression occurs in at least one out of four marriages, and comparable rates exist among couples who are living together, engaged, or dating. Domestic violence is also a major contributing factor to other social ills such as child abuse and neglect, female alcoholism, drug abuse, mental illness, attempted suicide, and homelessness.

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11 Yale J. L. & Feminism 3-50