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Changes in domestic violence laws over the years

In Las Vegas and elsewhere in the U.S., laws regarding domestic violence have changed a great deal over the years. Although the United States has always recognized domestic violence as morally wrong, its courts and public perception have taken a long time to catch up. In the 1600s, Massachusetts had a law on the books stating that husbands could not abuse their wives; 200 years later, a 19th century North Carolina court reportedly reversed the divorce and alimony of an abused woman.

Laws continued to be slow to change until the late 20th century when awareness of the dynamics of domestic abuse began to be better understood. The first shelters for battered women began opening in the 1960s. Over the last two decades, the government has increasingly dedicated funds to prevention of domestic violence.

One consistent problem many people who have been in violent relationships have had is the inability to leave for financial reasons. In some cases, this is because they lack the skills and education to support themselves and their children. In other cases, their spouses have mismanaged finances to such a degree that the victims are unable to leave. The federal government is now focusing on programs that address this issue including free legal aid and efforts to ensure that people do not lose their housing when they are domestic violence victims.

Individuals who are considering divorce while in a violent relationship may wish to take extra precautions. An attorney may be able to provide the guidance needed and gather evidence to bring the situation to court. It may be possible to obtain a restraining order against an abuser and other sanctions to ensure their client's safety.

Source: Real Clear Politics, "America's Long, Slow About-Face on Domestic Violence", Carl M. Cannon, July 23, 2014

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