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Family violence

No right-thinking person would disagree with the essential stance of the Justice Department's task force report on family violence that ''the law's protection should not stop at the family's front door.'' Every person has a right to protection against violence, whether from strangers or family members.

In the past, law enforcement officials have too often refused to act forcefully enough to deal with violence by one family member against another, on grounds that the dispute was strictly a family matter. This attitude is changing , as police and judicial systems are taking a tougher stance against violence within families. It is a continuation of this change that the task force report properly seeks.

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At the same time wisdom must be displayed so that government agencies do not incorrectly apply the Justice Department's findings in cases that involve family privacy, rather than violence. Powerful forces exist within American society that seek to become involved in family issues which, frankly, are none of their business. The Justice Department report is not a recommendation to intrude into family matters except in the specific instances of physical or sexual abuse, and it should not be misused for an invasive purpose.

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