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Abstract

As one of the most prevalent crimes in the country, domestic violence is one of the most frequently handled cases for prosecutors across the nation. Despite their commonality, however, domestic violence cases can raise the anxiety level of even the most experience prosecutors. There are several causes of such anxiety. First, domestic violence cases are often plagued by evidentiary problems that occur when a victim does not desire prosecution. Second, even in states where mandatory prosecution laws have been enacted, it can still be difficult to successfully prosecute a case when a victim is hostile, uncooperative and acting in direct opposition to attempts made by the prosecutor to help the victim. Third, most prosecutors receive a basic education on domestic violence and are only familiar with what have not become colloquial terms, such as "battered women's syndrome" and the "cycle of violence." Unfortunately, they are often not aware of how to utilize their knowledge to work effectively with the victim. This essay attempts to provide prosecutors with a better understanding of domestic violence victims from a psychological perspective, in a way that wil aid in the comprehension of the underlying dynamics of these difficult cases.

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