Abuse Industry Paves the Royal Road to the Welfare State

Carey Roberts – Big government is quietly co-opting domestic violence. In a little-publicized move, outgoing California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently approved a bill that creates a new multi-million dollar entitlement. Signed into law during the waning months of his second term, Senate Bill 782 bans landlords from kicking out scofflaw tenants who are victims of domestic violence.

The law defines a domestic violence victim as any person who “has filed a report alleging that the protected tenant or the household member is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.” Note “alleging”: no evidence or proof is necessary. If you declare yourself a victim, under the law you are.

So a single unproven accusation serves to keep a landlord high and dry — at the expense of flummoxed homeowners across the state.

As the new California act reveals, our nation’s domestic violence system has become a back-door entitlement program marked by loose definitions, weak eligibility criteria, and open-ended benefits.

Here’s how the clunky system works. The abuse victim must procure a restraining order before services can be rendered. Such no-contact orders drive a nearly impenetrable wedge between the parties, creating what Harvard law professor Jeannie Suk calls a system of “government-imposed de facto divorce.”

Social scientists note that family disintegration is primarily to blame for chronic inter-generational poverty. And as Table 35 of this Justice Department report reveals, crimes of family violence are seven times higher among divorced or separated couples than among those in intact married relationships.


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January 8th, 2011

Staff Reporter EducationNews.org

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