Gender and the law is one of the most critical subjects to be studies. The subject focuses over providing the genders with equity when it comes to law. Its objective is to find out that how law has treated the genders with equality and justice. Few specific areas have been given mush importance because of the increasing crimes in these areas. These areas include: reproductive control, sexual abuse, sexual aggravation, education, employment, transgender legal issues, prostitution and family and so on. All these areas require strict vigilance of law else severe crimes are expected to take place in these areas. It is also necessary to find out basic issues that exist in these areas so that emphasis can be made over it. The issues can be resolved by analyzing the perspectives of law in that regard. New rules, laws and policies should be formulated in order to take control over these gender related crimes. The gender and law is a very broad subject and it needs large time period and concentration for exploring the different laws that have been established in this regard. The law has provided both the genders with equal respect. The sexual conduct has also been defined in the law with respect. Sexual abuse and harassment have been condemned badly by the law. So, it is required to have a deep look in to the law and try to find out that how law has treated these issues. After in depth study, it should be tried to implement the relevant laws in order to maintain the equity, equality and respect of the genders. In this study, it has been tried to focus over the two issues i.e. sexual assault and domestic violence. It has been tried to explore that how criminal justice system has treated these issues. (Bartlett, 1993)
Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence
When it comes to gender and the law then among many important issues the two most common and significant one seem to be sexual assault and domestic violence. It is very essential finding out that to what extent criminal justice system is trying to minimize these crimes.
Sexual assault may be defined as any act in which the sexual contact is made forcefully. This type of crimes is seen very frequently in the world today. This curse is happening in the society in different ways including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, fondling, incest, dirty talks and exhibitionism and so on. All these dirty activities are being largely seen in the society today and should be controlled by making use of law. The sexual assault may badly affect the victim as well as the people associated with him or her. The victim has to face a huge physical as well as mental torture which destroys the personality completely. Laws should be implemented to control this menace so that people may feel safe in the environment where they live. In many countries this kind of threat is very common even at workplaces. The female staff is very much threatened by the occurrence of these kinds of activities. As a result of these activities the victim start facing issues like depression, hyper tension, anxiety, panic, numbing and hypervigilence and so on. The laws should be so strict that people may not face these situations in their life. (What is sexual assault?, 2009)
In many cases, it has been observed that people do try to hide such situations. In any case, if sexual assault takes place then it is highly recommended that the law enforcement bodies should be informed as soon as possible so that relevant law may be enforced. This will help to punish the criminal as soon as possible. Hiding these activities and incidents will encourage the criminals and the activities will take place more often. In such situations the closed family members or friends should be contacted as they can help you to inform the law enforcement bodies. Informing about the sexual assault activities is also important in order to prevent that individual from assaulting others. Also these incidents should be reported as soon as these take place. Otherwise you might forget the many parts of the details as with time the reminiscences will fade away and then investigation will not be processed properly. You should provide the complete details regarding the assailant to the investigator so that they can catch the right culprit. The details should include the complete incident along with all the activities in proper sequence, the activities performed in resistance, injuries and the sketch of the assailant. All these things are quite important in order to allow the law making bodies to take some action against it. (Sexual assault, 2010)
The other menace that exists in the society in terms of gender and law is domestic violence. This is another activity that should be strictly prohibited. The law enforcement powers should try to establish and implement strict laws in order to stop this sinful act. Domestic violence is an epidemic that is continuously seen to be there against females or children. The violence is of different natures like physical, emotional, psychological and sexual and so on. This kind of violence is mostly seen as a result of unequal behavior with the females. It can be said as the most omnipresent act against the gender equity. This type of violence should be taken very serious by the law bodies as well as the criminal justice system. This torture for women can be seen in almost all parts of the world. Hard action should be taken against this activity. In many cases, it has been seen that the domestic violence is normally performed under the influence of culture and religion. Many people consider it a wise decision to keep the violent activity within the boundary of their home. But it is better to inform the legal bodies regarding this awful activity so that required step can be taken. No country of the world can be termed as free from domestic violence. The only difference that exists in such activities being performed in the different parts of the world is the kind of violence. In some countries physical violence is common. While in other countries sexual abuse is widespread. No matter what kind of violence it is, still this activity should be condemned and strong actions should be taken against it by the criminal justice system. The results of this domestic violence can be very harsh over the women. They might get depressed or any other physical disability may take place. The frequency of these incidents is high enough and almost 20 to 50 percent females of a country have experienced these threats. This violence ruins the respect and personality of women. (Domestic violence against women and girls, 2000)
Both the sexual assault as well as the domestic violence should be discouraged strictly by the public as well as by the governments. The criminal justice system should take strong steps against these kinds of activities.
Criminal Justice System
A criminal justice system is a significant body for keeping peace in any country. This system comprises of a number legal as well as social institutes. This system is responsible for maintaining peace and law with in the country. There are a numer of different rules, regulation, limitation and policies over which the system works. This system is essentially required in order to control the crimes with in any place. In every country the system works in a different way. For example in few of the countries the system is structured in to two parts i.e., federal criminal justice system and military criminal justice system. The police and other bodies of law enforcement come under the subsystems of the criminal justice system. Both of these are the basic building blocks of any criminal justice system. Other subsystems include the prosecution offices, public defender offices, probation agencies, parole agencies, and appellate courts, intuitions for custody and correction departments and so on. Bails, defending, offending, supervision and assistance of any victim as well as criminal also come under this system. Also many administrative agencies come under this judicial system like taxation agencies, license bureaus and natural resources agencies and so on.
The purpose of all the subsystems is to implement the law and policies within the country. Although there are many legislators and officials who do not play any direct role in the justice system but still these are very vital in developing the policies and laws. The policies are also developed by taking under consideration few of the external actors like media, business organizations and employee organizations. The criminal justice system should be very coordinated, planned, systematic, methodical, regular and organized. It is very necessary so that the criminal activities within the country can be stopped or reduced. But it is evident in many countries that only few of the subsystems of justice system are acting in the desired way. Most of the systems do not follow any rules or regulations. These systems are unplanned and as a result are unable to control the issues in the country. The criminal justice system should pay proper focus over all the subsystems in order to strictly implement the rules and laws. Also it has been observed in majority of the cases that the laws and rules have got too old and need some revisions now. The current situation of crimes is not the same as it was in the past. In the recent years the criminal activities have been largely increased and getting extreme as well. The previous laws and rules sometime do not prove to be enough for controlling these activities.
For this reason, the criminal justice system should focus over its all the subsystems in order to make sure that these are working efficiently and effectively. The changes should be made immediately if felt. It should be checked that every subsystem should fulfill its duties and goals properly. In short the criminal justice system is one of the most vital element and public service for any country. All the people with in the criminal justice system are highly related with one and another. Nobody can take any action without the consent of the other. Any change in one of the subsystem can also bring changes in the other parts of the system. For this reason, this complicated system should be formed as a very structured and regulated one and should also be appreciated and encouraged by the public and government as well. (Frase & Weidner, 2010)
The purpose of criminal justice is to prevent and reduce the criminal activities. Every kind of criminal activity comes under this justice system. The justice system should investigate the crime in depth and then should take serious action against it. The further actions should also include the serious steps like prosecution and arrest. The case should be made and then hearings should be made in order to give a chance to the criminal to define himself. In case if the criminal is proved to be guilty then appropriate sentence should be made against him. This is very much required in order to warn the other criminals. If these steps are not taken then it may also encourage others to do the same sinful acts again and again. In this study we are going to find out what laws have been developed by the criminal justice system against the acts like sexual assault and domestic violence. The two criminal activities are increasing in every society and country day by day. It is very vital to control these activities in order to provide the public with security and safe environment. (Gibson& Cavadino, 2008)
How Does Criminal Justice System Respond to the Sexual Assault and the Domestic Violence?
This is the main objective of this study to find out that how criminal justice system is handling these two criminal activities. It is to find out that whether the justice system take deal with these activities in a lenient or in a strict way. So for this reason, we have tried to find out that what steps are taken by the criminal justice system in case of these crimes.
Sexual Assault and Criminal Justice System
Sexual assault is one of the most common crimes that is existing in every part of the world. It has been always considered that controlling and reporting against this crime is a very long and complicate process. As a result many people do not make complaints regarding this act. This is the major mistake made by any person. It is recommended that these crimes should be reported as soon as possible. The immediate report will allow the justice system to take necessary and strict action against the assailant. The criminal justice system may provide the victim with the full justice if everything is informed ion time. The criminal justice system will take serious action to limit the prevalence of such activities. It is the responsibility of the justice system to enforce the laws over such activities in order to safeguard its citizens. The criminal justice system has given much importance to the safety of the respect of the women. The laws formulated for women are very strict and respectful. The criminal justice system not only takes action against the criminal but also provides safety to the victim as well. In many cases, the victims consider that they will have severe security issue if they will complaint against this kind of act. For this reason they need safety and security. All the federal, governmental and territorial agencies take part in the justice process. The law for security has been formulated by the law commission. (Making the criminal justice system more responsive to victims, 2010)
Also the victims have been provided with the most flexible and comfortable environment. They are provided with their comfort zone. All the public intervene is discarded on the request of the victim and the justice system deals with the issue by just involving the major members of it. The sentencing is done by considering the victim impact statement. This statement clarifies that how the victim is suffering. The laws and sentencing vary from culture to culture and from country to country. The sexual assault laws are majorly focusing over the issues of underreporting and low assurance rates. People mostly do not trust over others and for this reason they feel shy in discussiing such kind of activity with them. The criminal justice system is trying its best to make the people feel relaxed and comfortable. The criminal justice system also manages the evidentiary concerns according to the ease of the victims. The laws have also been established that may prevent the victim from being revictimized. For the satisfaction of the victim their history is also not saved or disclosed so that he or she may regain the confidence. (Bryden & Lengnick, 1997)
The punishments that are received by the guilty person or assailant may vary depending on the severity of his crime. The sentence is given after the few weeks of judgment. A probation office is appointed who is responsible for creating the report before the sentencing may take place. This officer is responsible for performing complete investigation and developing the report by considering the entire activity. The report will be then provided to the judge and he will punish the assailant according to the details. A number of punishments can be given to the assailant and the judge is having right to decide the most suitable. The sentence and the punishment depend on the nature of severity of the crime. The several sentences and punishments include life imprisonment, few months’ imprisonment, imprisonment for the years and fine in some cases as well. The judge is responsible for deciding the length of the sentence. These punishments show that the criminal justice system take strong action against the sexual assault and its assailant. It also provides the victims with security and comfort. It can be said that criminal justice system does not take sexual assault acts lightly. (Vancouver rape relief and women’s shelter, 2007)
Domestic Violence and Criminal Justice System
The domestic violence is again an activity that should be condemned and stopped. Criminal justice system can also play a vital role in reducing and eliminating this criminal act. A very effective step is required by the justice system. This nature of justice system is this regard is also different depending upon the culture and country. The justice system is very rigid in this regard as women are given very much respect in the society. This system is powerful enough to fight against this dreadful act. Laws have been developed and enforced by the system in order to eliminate this curse form the society. The criminal justice system has the right to perform investigation regarding the incident and then take the proper action against it. The response against these kinds of criminal acts has been so strict by the justice system that a reduction can be observed in many countries in these acts. Arresting the guilty ones and then punishing them has proven to be quite successful in the past years. After the arrest of the guilty one, the further prosecution and process is also very strict one for the guilty people. New law enforcement strategies have been developed that may limit the domestic violence issues. The new law enforcement process does include the comprehensive investigation, arrest of the guilty, prosecution and punishment. Also the criminal justice system provides the victim with the support and safety. Studies have proven the fact that no other system can limit these activities. Only criminal justice system can control the abuse of domestic violence. In many cases, it has been observed that these acts are tried to hide. This provides the preparatory to be more encouraged about his act. According to the laws of the criminal justice system the following principles can be formulated:
- It is the right of every person no matter men or women to have a safe and secure life.
- Domestic violence should be prohibited and strong action should be taken. The main reason for stopping this kind of violence is that it generates the inequity between the men and women.
- The domestic violence needs to get minimized and this can be only done if the victim cooperates completely. The lack of cooperation will not allow the justice system to take proper action.
The above are the basic laws and based on these laws, the criminals are given punishments and fines. It is recommended that the people should allow the justice system to intervene in to this matter and get it resolved. The criminal justice system will get the documentation prepared for taking further actions. The document will include the complete details of the incident along with the details of the criminal. If the person is proved to be guilty then he is arrested and then further punishment is given depending on the nature of violence. The criminal is also given a chance to explain himself. The punishments of sexual attacks and domestic violence are almost the same. The punishment may range from the life time imprisonment to the few months imprisonment. (Cannon, 2007)
By the above discussion and gathered information it is quite clear that criminal justice system never ignores the issues of sexual assault and domestic violence. The only thing that is required is the full cooperation of the subsystems of the justice system as well as the victims. The system can work effectively and can take strong steps against this kind of gender violence if it had got the support of the law enforcement bodies and victim. Along with providing the criminal with the punishment, the criminal justice system also provides the victim with the safety and security for future. This shows the concern of the system towards such issues.
The study has allowed us to find out that the criminal justice system does not show any kind of leniency towards the sexual assault and domestic violence cases. Instead, it puts it complete concentration and efforts over these cases. Strict punishments are given to the people who perform these dreadful acts with the women and children. Although in many cases, it happens that the bodies like police and investigators do not support the justice system and provide leniency to the guilty ones. This can be done if the victims are not agreed to cooperate with the investigation team. If the complete details are not provided to the investigation team then it gets difficult to take the further action. Also if any woman has been assaulted by her own partner then in majority of the cases it is not desired to bring the case in front of the justice system. The criminal justice system has always taken these sexual assault and domestic violence cases very seriously. Detailed investigation is performed and after those hearings are made in which the punishment is given to the guilty person. The criminal justice system cannot be considered to be responsible for the leniency in these kinds of criminal acts. It is because if the victim is not willing to share the details of the incident with the justice system then obviously no step can be taken against the assailant. It is recommended that the criminal justice system should be supported by the victims as well as by the other subsystems. Changes should be made in the laws and string punishments should be given to the one who performs such sinful acts.