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Domestic Abuse Victims Face Legal Challenges

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Imagine your storybook romance turns into a nightmare - one, where you're struggling to escape verbal and physical abuse, or even sexual assault. And now imagine feeling that no one, not even the law, can stop it.

Over the past few months, the Chicago Tribune staff has uncovered problems with the local criminal justice system charged with protecting battered women. In some cases, judges obligate the victims to keep in touch with the offenders, who often avoid long-term imprisonment.

The newspaper found that nearly 14 percent of defendants throughout Cook County, faced domestic violence charges multiple times over a three-year period. Only 17 percent of domestic violence cases countywide end in conviction, despite major changes recently to help battered women.

Liam Ford and Megan Twohey are among the reporters working on this investigative series.

Music Button: Brightwhitelight, “Elemental”, from the CD Sounds From The Ground, (Waveform records)

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