The Evolution of Protections Against Domestic and Family Violence

Nicole Mary Ang


It was not until the end of the 20th century that domestic violence was realized, and the state and federal governments began stepping in, riding in on the coattails of the feminist and civil rights movements, to protect women and children against such harms, enacting laws that criminalized such acts and/or creating specialized family violence courts to deal with such issues. However, do these actions really offer victims of domestic and family violence more protection? By mapping the changes in the liability found of states and their law enforcement agencies for their failure(s) to protect victims of domestic violence over time, and comparing it to the laws and causes of actions raised against them, this research has found that victims still do not have an interest in protection per se, and that a duty to protect victims has not been solidified nor consistently enforced. Protections by and help from law enforcement is not a constitutional right under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, and the creation of a duty between a victim and a law enforcement agent must be explicit and illicit detrimental reliance from a victim for the agent to be liable. Furthermore, it has become clear that discrimination between victims and non-victims of domestic violence, as compared to simple assault, continues to exist, which compromise the protections that these statutes and protocols were set up to ensure in the first place.


Domestic Violence; Police Protection; 42 USC § 1983; Due Process; Negligence

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.