Published: January, 2011| University of Virginia School of Law

Despite legal and policy measures designed to protect victims, domestic violence remains a pervasive rights violation in the United States. Legal and policy developments in the criminal justice system over the past few decades have improved the protection scheme for victims of domestic violence, including the availability of civil protection orders, mandatory arrest laws for abusers and mandatory prosecution policies. However, these measures are not uniformly applied and can create additional problems for victims from marginalized populations. Domestic violence is greatly influenced by contextual factors such as poverty, legal status or residence.