If the main aim of civil law is to regulate and improve matters for the future, by, for example, making orders about the future behaviour of parties rather than punishing past behaviour (criminal law), then a fundamental question is whether the civil law is adequately fulfilling these requirements regarding domestic violence. This is a particularly pertinent question given the implementation of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004. This article will examine whether the Government's reforms offer protection to all victims of domestic violence as proposed in the Consultation Paper ‘Safety and Justice’ and will suggest that instead of achieving a clear coherent framework for dealing with domestic violence, the Act has taken a step towards blurring the boundaries between the criminal and civil law.
(Published Online January 23 2006)
1 I would like to thank the editors for comments on earlier drafts.