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The legacy of family violence is often passed from generation to generation as the children who witness abuse today will become the perpetrators of domestic violence tomorrow. Traditionally, domestic violence has often been minimized, overlooked, and rationalized due to religious, cultural, and social pressures…
This has been the legacy of the Tennessee laws regarding domestic violence. However, recent decades have witnessed a shift in public awareness accompanied by a greater sense of responsibility within the law to protect the women, men, and children who become the victims of abuse and a greater willingness of the courts to prosecute the offenders.
One of the key areas that Tennessee law has changed in recent years is the ability of the state to intervene in prosecution of domestic violence with or without the cooperation of the victim. According to the Knoxville Tennessee Bar Association, "unlike in the past when victims were required to swear out warrants, officers now are being trained to swear out all warrants involving domestic violence themselves" (How to Use the Law). If the offender is arrested, the level of the crime will depend upon the egregiousness of the act. In Tennessee most prosecutions for domestic violence are prosecuted as Class A misdemeanors that carry a sentence of not more than 1 year (How to Use the Law). In addition to the criminal sentence most offenders are also required to attend a domestic violence intervention program. The victim is also entitled to obtain a Civil Order of Protection that provides an additional layer of legal protection against domestic violence and threats.
The recent changes in Tennessee law that have broadened t ...
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