Volume 19

What Ever Happened to the “Child Maltreatment Revolution”?

by Claire Houston

     While child maltreatment (CM) and domestic violence (DV) share some features and have similar legal pasts, the legal system now treats CM and DV quite differently. In CM cases, authorities generally avoid criminal prosecutions and encourage families to stay together. By contrast, in DV cases, authorities often seek criminal prosecution and couples are pushed toward separation. This article argues that the disparate treatment of CM and DV suggests that DV is more serious than CM, with DV victims more deserving of protection than child victims of maltreatment. It suggests that a feminist intervention in CM could lead to greater condemnation of CM and greater legal protection for CM victims.

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