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The end of domestic violence

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In this article, I examine the rationales that have been given for extending domestic violence legislation to associated persons. I argue that the empirical and principled rationales are unfounded and that the ideological rationale is reactionary. With regard to the empirical rationale, the extent of violence that the aggregate of associated persons suffers is not high enough to justify privileging associated persons over other citizens with regard to protection from violence. In relation to the principled rationale, the impetus for domestic violence legislation was based on isolation and inequality, which are not experienced in particular by the category of associated persons when taken as a whole. With regard to the ideological rationale, it is worrying that intimacy and equality are emerging as the touchstones of a newer rationale for domestic violence legislation, which rightly has more to do with isolation and inequality than intimacy and equality.

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