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British Court Rules Shouting is ‘Domestic Violence’

British High Court Expands ‘Domestic Violence’ to Include Shouting and Criticizing

Robert Franklin, Esq.
fathersandfamilies.org
January 27, 2011

It’s hard to overstate the reach of the British Supreme Court’s ruling in this case (Daily Mail, 1/27/11). It was decided on Thursday and from that date all aspects of domestic violence law have been completely changed.

Prior to the court’s ruling, the word “violence” in British law relating to domestic violence had been interpreted to mean physical assault. Thursday’s decision expands the definition of “violence” to include an astonishing and entirely unprecedented range of behaviors.

    Raising your voice at a husband or wife, or a boyfriend or girlfriend, now counts as domestic violence under the landmark Supreme Court judgment.

    The decision also means that denying money to a partner or criticising them can count as violence and bring down draconian domestic violence penalties from the courts.

The case arose when a woman applied to a local council for housing separate from that of her husband. She did so based solely on her claim that he was violent toward her. But when the council learned that he had never been physically violent, it turned her down and she appealed.

The Supreme Court’s ruling means that British taxpayers will get to provide housing for the woman, not because she’s in any physical danger; no one, not even she, claims that. No, the reason she gets a new place to live is that she says her husband shouted at her, a claim he denies. She also said he didn’t give her money for household expenses.

Assuming that he did what she claims he did, he engaged in domestic violence according to the Supreme Court. And after Thursday, so does every other person in England.

Five judges on the court led by Lady Hale seem to have been feeling in the dark for a justification of their decision. On one hand they consulted a dictionary and found that its definition of “violence” includes both physical assault and “extreme fervor, passion or fury.”

That a court should base its opinion on a definition as loose as that beggars reason. A child could imagine a hundred instances to which the words “extreme fervor, passion or fury” would apply that couldn’t conceivably be called domestic violence (or could they?). Sexual passion, excitement about a football game, anger at the government apparently could all qualify.

Perhaps aware of the carte blanche they were giving to courts across the land in future cases, the judges groped for another reason for such a radical change in British law. And, contrary to their consulting the dictionary, they declared that whatever we may think a word’s meaning is, it changes over time and so, irrespective of what Parliament intended and irrespective of what people generally understand the word to mean, it now means something else. And that ’something else’ happens to be what the court said it meant on Thursday. Friday? That may be another matter.

Read Full Article Here

 

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