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In some countries, domestic violence is often seen as justified, particularly in cases of actual or suspected infidelity on the part of the woman, and is legally permitted.
There is evidence that there exists a direct and significant correlation between a country's level of gender equality and actual rates of domestic violence.
Domestic violence can take place in heterosexual and same-sex family relationships, and can involve violence against children in the family.
Prior to the mid-1800s, most legal systems viewed wife beating as a valid exercise of a husband's authority over his wife.In most legal systems around the world, the issue of DV has been addressed only from the 1990s onwards; indeed, before the late-20th century, in most countries there was very little protection, in law or in practice, against DV.