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System Fails Battered Woman

The January 3 murder of Charles County, MD, resident Janice Lancaster leaves questions as to how well the law serves victims of domestic violence. Lancaster’s husband shot her in front of her two children, after months of harassment, beatings, and death threats, despite the fact that a warrant for his arrest had been signed by District Court Judge Gary S. Gasparovic on December 29.

Lancaster sought every route she could to protect herself from her husband; counseling, a court protective order, and a call to the police were among the avenues she took. Officials state that it normally takes only “a day or two” to process a bench warrant similar to the one issued against Steven Lancaster, but that the New Year’s holiday delayed the case.

Advocates for domestic violence victims, including the House of Ruth, a Baltimore advocacy group, are decrying the handling of this case, questioning how much protection our current system can offer women.

Sources:

Washington Post - January 4 and January 5, 2000