DOMESTIC ABUSE: NATIVE CHILDREN AND WOMEN

Abstract : stated that Native American communities had been deeply influenced by the values of European settlers. Native women were traditionally revered for their abilities to give birth. i They also held leadership positions within some matrifocal and matrilineal societies. ii The same respect was bestowed upon the children, seen as the future of the tribes and instrumental to the transmission of its traditions. Therefore, children and women were equally treated with respect. In spite of the recognition of the significance of women and children for tribes, domestic violence is rampant in Native American communities. The complex response of the Judicial system towards these abuses can be explained by the large scope of definitions of domestic violence. Even though all states have a legislation that defines domestic violence, this definition varies as far as the range of victim-offender relationships allows. In some states domestic violence encompasses romantic relationship regardless of gender (except in Louisiana, Montana, North and South Carolina which exclude same sex relationship) and cohabitation status. Conversely others insist that domestic violence implies the private sphere of a couple who live or have previously lived together, or who share(d) a child. iii Those various perspectives imply a broad definition of domestic violence as: any act deemed dangerous, committed by a household member against another person in the household sharing romantic, legal or blood relationships, as domestic violence. It includes assault, battery, sexual abuse, stalking, and threats. Even though this broad definition implies the inclusion of the abuse of the elderly as a case of domestic violence, the focus will be on women and children. Besides the inclusion of child abuse as a case of domestic violence, each state has its own definition of child abuse and neglect that is based on minimum standards set by federal laws. The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act amended in 1998 defines child abuse as: " any recent act or failure to act on the part of parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation; or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm ". iv To summarize the variety of definitions, we may define child abuse as: any conduct which intentionally or recklessly cause or attempt to cause physical injury, emotional distress or sexual abuse to a child. The first two parts examine the extent of domestic abuse in Native communities, and its complexity. The last two parts identify the elements responsible for the high rate of domestic violence in Native communities and the prevention and protection programs that are being developed.
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Claire Palmiste. DOMESTIC ABUSE: NATIVE CHILDREN AND WOMEN. 2013. ⟨hal-01768177⟩

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