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In the UK, domestic assaults are criminal offences and a man who attacks his wife can be prosecuted for his actions. He may be charged with one or more of various offences against the person included the offence of rape. The Protection From Harassment Act 1997 introduced strong measures to assist those who are victims of a course of conduct, which amounts to harassment and made such conduct a crime. However, victims of domestic violence and harassment may be reluctant to become involved in the prosecution process for a number of reasons. These include the realisation by the victim that the matter is no longer under her control once she has reported an attack to the police. It will be up to the police to decide whether and how they wish to investigate her complaint, and it will be the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service whether or not to go ahead and press charges.This loss of control acts as a disincentive to women to report incidents of violence, as they may well fear the consequences of their action if the police and Crown Prosecution Service fail, as they see it, to respond in an appropriate fashion. In the past the police have been unwilling to intervene in cases of domestic violence, and to prosecute offenders. This perception of the police as unwilling to come to the assistance of victims of domestic assaults is still evident today, even though domestic violence is taken much more seriously by the police than in the past, and even though police practices in many areas have changed radically in favour of the victim.


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