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Laws on Domestic Abuse


Federal laws refer to the bills created and amended in both houses of Congress and signed by the head of state. The United States Code contains individual laws, also called acts. On the other hand, state laws are formulated and enacted in the legislative branches of each state. About the United States Department of Justice, handling violence against women, domestic abuse refers to the perpetration of violent behaviors in a relationship to maintain or gain control over an intimate partner. The states classify many types of abuse as domestic violence. Some of them include emotional, sexual, physical, psychological, and economic abuse, as well as threats and cyberstalking. Perpetrators can also be charged with kidnapping, raping, and intentionally confining individuals without their consent. The Domestic Violence Act recognizes victims of domestic violence as spouses, children, family members, cohabitants, dating partners, and intimate and sexual partners. This essay presents one federal and one state law created in response to domestic violence in Indiana.

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Federal Law: Violence against Women Act (VAWA)

VAWA addresses congressional concerns regarding violent crimes and infringement of women’s rights. The law was originally enforced in 1994, and it permits enhanced deterrence of sex offenders, apart from authorizing grants to states, tribal, and regional law enforcement systems to investigate and judge intimate partners against violent crimes (Sacco, 2019). In addition to the initial provisions, VAWA acknowledges that domestic violence is a national offense that federal laws should oversee to help local and state criminal justice systems overcome it.

VAWA and its subsequent provisions have brought immense effects at local and federal levels. For instance, states have benefited from improved services for victims of domestic and sexual violence, as well as cyberstalking (Sacco, 2019). Additionally, the law has vastly improved training and empowerment about violence against women among victim judges, prosecutors, health professionals, judges, and overall law enforcement systems. It later reauthorized initial grant programs to observe the needs of underserved communities and intensify protection against sexual assault and domestic crimes (Sacco, 2019). Thus, VAWA improved to safeguard battered immigrants, survivors of sexual harassment, and those facing dating violence. As a result, immigrant victims of domestic assault have been able to obtain custody and not return to their jurisdictions.


  • E.F.L., Petitioner-Appellant, v. Bill PRIM, et al., Respondents-Appellees (EFL v. Prim, 2021): This case concerns E. F. L., a Mexican person who resided in the United States for close to 20 years (EFL v. Prim, 2021). She reported having endured extreme levels of domestic violence during her stay. The court ordered that she be deported because her residence was undocumented. The woman filed a petition under VAWA and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. E.F.L. v. Prim, 986 F. 3d 959, 2021 (2021, par. 7) records, “During the pendency of this appeal, USCIS approved E.F.L.’s VAWA petition.” The court later recognized her long-term cases of domestic abuse although it did not provide her with the relief she needed.
  • United States v. Morrison et al. (Breest v. Haggis, 2019): A female student at Virginia Tech. filed a suit against VAWA concerning two male friends who assaulted her sexually after refusing the act.
  • Section 13981 of VAWA states that an individual within the United States lives with freedom against gender-motivated violence (Breest v. Haggis, 2019). The men broke this rule, although the state grand jury failed to obtain sufficient evidence to deter them.

State Law: Indiana’s Statutory Protection for the Abused Child

The number of child abuse cases is increasing, and legal authorities in Indiana have recognized it. The many cases of abuse prompt social workers to formulate laws protecting the abused child in four ways. These include requirements to report all suspected cases of child abuse to legal authorities and punishments enforced by the criminal law on the perpetrators of violence (Find Law, 2018). It also contains juvenile laws allowing minor individuals to be removed from their homes or to be rehabilitated under protective supervision. The law authorizes different programs to offer welfare services for dependent and neglected children through the department of public health in each county. Abused subjects cannot find assistance if legal authorities do not detect their condition of abuse.

Indiana State has seen several effects since the law’s enforcement. Children receive protection from various kinds of violence, minimizing exploitation and abuse. Additionally, the commitment to protect children promotes the human rights act, which outlines the fundamental freedoms and rights to which each citizen is entitled (Find Law, 2018). Legal authorities have better assessments and monitoring of cases through the collection of case reports and using periodic surveys. The law also helps to improve the way justice systems operate regarding cases of child abuse and neglect. Through the law enactment, counties improve juvenile courts by minimizing evidence from children and encouraging representation from supportive adults.


  • In RE the Matter of A.M. (Minor Child), Child in Need of Services, and J.M. (Mother) and D.M. (Father), Appellants-Respondents, v. the Indiana Department of Child Services (IDCS), Appellee-Petitioner (Court of Appeals of Indiana, 2019a): In this case, the court found that two minor individuals had been abused and neglected at home, and they required particular services. They were unlikely to access quality care and treatment unless the court intervened coercively. This treatment is against Indiana’s statutory protections for the abused child, which safeguards children’s rights as mentioned earlier.
  • In the Matter of: K.A.H., a Child in Need of Services, and A.V.U. (Mother), Appellant-Respondent, v. the IDCS, Appellee-Petitioner (Court of Appeals of Indiana, 2019b): the issue arises concerning a mother living with a boyfriend and a two-year-old child in a physically and verbally abusive relationship. The mother once left the child with her partner, believing that he could not act violently act on the baby. Another day, the boyfriend babysat the same child, who later complained to the mother that he hurt his head. Additionally, the boyfriend did not let in their second child K. H after school despite the cold weather. Afterward, the boyfriend called his partner to inform her of the deceased child; M. G. Criminal investigators later found that the child had significant bruises on his back, forehead, buttocks, and hips. In December 2017, Indiana’s department of child services filed a petition to remove K. H from her residential home to live with her maternal grandparents and ordered her parents to visit her under the authority’s supervision.

Sources’ Credibility

The sources used in this essay are credible because they are up-to-date, and written within the past five years. Additionally, they were obtained from the case laws published in Google Scholar. This website is credible and it contains only scholarly and credible materials ranging from case laws, technical reports, and journal articles to conference presentations. Lastly, professional authors and legal systems such as the Indiana Courts of Appeal wrote the sources used.


Various provisions under federal and state acts have been presented in response to domestic violence in Indiana and the United States at large. Some of the discussed acts include VAWA and the Indiana Statutory Protection for the Abused Child. The first law was infringed in the cases of E.F.L., Petitioner-Appellant, v. Bill PRIM, et al., Respondents-Appellees and the United States v. Morrison et al. A. M. and K. A. H. v. IDCS exemplify cases concerning child protection.

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Court of Appeals of Indiana. (2019a). In RE the matter of A.M. (minor child), child in need of services, and J.M. (mother) and D.M. (father), Appellants-Respondents, v. the Indiana Department of Child Services, Appellee-Petitioner. 

Court of Appeals of Indiana. (2019b). Kah v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services, 119 NE 3d 1115 – Ind.: Court of Appeals 2019

E.F.L., Petitioner-Appellant, v. Bill PRIM, et al., Respondents-Appellees. (2021). United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.

Find Law. (2018). Indiana child abuse laws.

Haleigh Breest, Respondent, v. Paul Haggis, Appellant. (2019). Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, First Department.

Sacco, L. N. (2019). The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA): Historical overview, funding, and reauthorization.

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