Domestic Violence The Love Crime Essay Research

Domestic Violence The Love Crime Essay, Research Paper Domestic Violence The Love Crime Domestic violence is one of the most common and expensive crimes committed today. We all know of someone who has been a victim of domestic violence and we are almost always aware that the perpetrator loves the victim. Whether in the heat of passion or a drunken stupor the perpetrator only wants the victim to understand how much they love them.

Domestic Violence The Love Crime Essay, Research Paper

Domestic Violence

The Love Crime

Domestic violence is one of the most common and expensive crimes committed today. We all know of someone who has been a victim of domestic violence and we are almost always aware that the perpetrator loves the victim. Whether in the heat of passion or a drunken stupor the perpetrator only wants the victim to understand how much they love them. Sometimes they yell at their victim to try and get this point across. Sometimes they feel they have to beat this thought into their victims, and sometimes the only way a victim can understand how much the perpetrator loves them, is to give their life. This might sound like a cynical view of abusers but is it, let s take a look at a profile (Marvin). The Federal Bureau of Investigation has done on batterers:

· Low self-esteem. This often results from physical or sexual abuse and/or disapproval or neglect by a parent or authoritarian figure from the batterer’s childhood.

· Extreme insecurity and an inability to trust others. Batterers have difficulty establishing close

friendships. They tend to be critical or jealous of their partners.

· Denial of responsibility for their behavior. Batterers often deny that abuse has occurred. They

also minimize the impact of their assaultive behavior or blame their partners for causing an


· Need to control. Batterers choose to abuse their partners. Their purpose is to control them.

Batterers use violence or attempted or suggested violence to make their partners comply

with their wishes.

The last sentence in this profile is the key to understanding domestic violence. When a person hears that John Doe was convicted of a domestic violence charge they automatically think that someone has been physically battered. Most reported cases of domestic violence are of this variety. However the most under reported crime is when an abuser does not actually physically batter a victim but instead intimidates and threatens them into submission.

Now we must define what actually is Domestic Violence. According to

the State of Missouri, (Missouri Revised Statutes), Domestic Violence is defined as:

Attempting to cause or causing bodily injury to a family or household member,

or placing a family or household member by threat of force in fear of imminent

physical harm;

Fear, this is the power abusers have over their victims. Fear of losing their home, life, family, and most importantly fear of losing their children. Most abusers fall into one or more of these types (Marvin):

Types of Abuse

Officers investigating domestic violence should have an understanding of

the types of abuse they may encounter. Because domestic violence is a

pattern of coercive control founded on and supported by violence or the

threat of violence, this abuse may take the forms of physical violence,

sexual violence, emotional abuse, and/or psychological abuse.

Physical violence includes punching, choking, biting, hitting,

hair-pulling, stabbing, shooting, or threats of this type of violence.

Sexual violence is characterized by physical attacks of the breast

and or genital area, unwanted touching, rape with objects, and forced

sexual relations, including marital rape.

Emotional abuse takes the form of a systematic degrading of the victim’s

self-worth. This may be accomplished by calling the victim names, making

derogatory or demeaning comments, forcing the victim to perform

degrading or humiliating acts, threatening to kill the victim or the

victim’s family, controlling access to money, and acting in other ways

that imply that the victim is crazy.

Psychological battering involves all of these features of emotional

abuse, but also consists of at least one violent episode or attack on

the victim to maintain the impending threat of additional assaults.

Destruction of property is violence directed at the victim even though

no physical contact is made between the batterer and the victim. This

includes destroying personal belongings, family heirlooms, or even the

family pet. This destruction is purposeful and the psychological impact

on the victim may be as devastating as a physical attack.

Domestic violence is one of the most under reported crimes in America today. According to the (Family Violence Prevention Fund) while most reported crime rates have fallen domestic violence caseloads have risen drastically. The article said in part The most rapid growth in domestic relations caseloads is occurring in domestic violence filings. Between 1991-1993, of 24 states with three year filing figures, 18 reported an increase of 20 percent or more.

Does this mean that domestic violence is on the rise? No, overall crime rates in the United States are falling. There have been changes however in how crimes are reported especially in the domestic violence area of law enforcement. What event or series of events have led to the increase in the number of domestic violence cases reported in the last several years. Well two main events led to policy changes. First even though domestic violence has been an issue for years it has not been on the front burner of the American political scene. It has been just over the last thirty years that it has become a prominent issue in American society. It is mostly due to the women s movement of 60s and 70s that we have the legislation we have today to protect victims of domestic violence. The one key event that happened and will probably go down as the straw that broke the camel s back is the O.J Simpson verdict.

As an article in the (Women’s International Network News) put it With her bruises captured in photographs and her fear echoing on a 911 audiotape even after her death, Nicole Brown Simpson has unleashed a wave of support for battered women and firmly anchored domestic violence in the American psyche as a problem that must be dealt with. Sunday, June 12, 1994 is probably the most important day in the history of domestic violence prevention in this nations history. In one crazed and violent act O.J. Simpson took domestic violence off the back burner and made it one of the most talked about issues in the country. Three months to the day after the nation became aware of this gruesome crime of domestic violence the second event that will forever change how we see domestic violence occurred.

The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (Violence Against Women Act) as it is popularly called) was passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton on September 13, 1994. The act authorized $1.6 billion to combat and study violence against women, stiffened laws against sex offenders, and created prevention and treatment programs. The question to be asked is would this bill have passed in its present form if not for the Simpson murders occurring just three months prior? We will never know the answer to that question. We can decide for ourselves whether or not a lesser bill would have passed at that point and time.

How did the Simpson verdict affected policy? Well according to the (Family Violence Prevention Fund) in a survey conducted prior to the Simpson verdict and one after the public attitude towards domestic violence changed drastically. Here is quote from summary of the first survey,

The vast majority (81 percent) of respondents agree that something can be done to reduce the amount of violence against women, but 26 percent say that they personally do not know what specific action to take. Americans have doubts about when a private fight becomes a matter of public policy. While people condemn such abusive behavior as shouting, threatening, grabbing and shoving, few believe that an arrest should be made until the likelihood of injury grows. Twenty-two percent recommend more counseling and 15 percent recommend teaching school children to avoid violence. Women are more likely than men to recommend action or intervention when abuse becomes physical.

Compare that with this excerpt from a summary of a survey taken after the Simpson


“The media focus on domestic violence is changing public attitudes and spurring people to join the effort to prevent and reduce abuse,” said FUND Executive Director Esta Soler. “Increasingly, Americans recognize that domestic violence is pervasive in our society, and that it is tearing apart our families and communities. Perhaps more than ever before, there is a collective determination to address this costly and devastating epidemic. That’s long overdue.” Americans are becoming more aware and less tolerant of abuse, the survey found. More than 70 percent of respondents say they learned something — and 48 percent learned a lot or a fair amount — about domestic violence from media coverage of the Simpson case.

The next question to ask is, does a policy spurred on by public opinion (such as the Violence against Women Act) make good law? There are differing opinions on how the law is affecting the domestic violence problems in the United States. One of the new ideas is that doctors should not only treat the wounds but report abuse and assist the victim in obtaining help. This would mean that a doctor would be required to breach patient, doctor confidentiality. Research shows that a majority of domestic violence victims and advocates support laws requiring doctors report abuse. One such survey was taken in Miami two doctors, (Panagiota, Caralis V., MD, JD, and Musialowski,Regina) who found that victims overwhelmingly support just such a law. Here is one of the charts from their report it speaks for itself:

TABLE 4. Patients’ Expectations Regarding Physicians’

Reporting and Treatments of Abuse Victims

% of Total Patients

Who Strongly Agree(*)

Laws should require doctors to report abuse 79

Doctors should report abuse if children in the home 81

Doctors should not report abuse if:

Patient fears she will lose support 9

Patient fears she will lose children 10

Patient fears for her safety 11

Doctors should provide the following treatments:

Injuries only 5

Tranquilizers/ pain medicines 12

Psychiatric counseling 80

Information on community resources 88

Legal information 60

Help finding shelter 78

Help calling police 60

The problem is that grants are given in the (Violence Against Women Act) to both promote confidentiality and train people to report abuse.

Chapter two of the Act contains this language:

(b) PURPOSES FOR WHICH GRANTS MAY BE USED- Grants under this part shall provide personnel, training, technical assistance, data collection and other equipment for the more widespread apprehension, prosecution, and adjudication of persons committing violent crimes against women, and specifically, for the purposes of

This is the part of the Act where proponents find funding for programs like taking surveys of victims and also funding to train doctors on how to spot abuse.

Chapter five contains language that would provide grants to study how to protect the confidentiality of victims while trying to protect the Constitutional rights of the perpetrator. Overall the Act has a few of these two edged swords another is funding to promote mandatory arrest policies. Many States (including Missouri) have mandatory arrest on domestic violence calls. An article in the (ABA Journal) points out the problem with this policy. In part it states:

Mandatory waiver of spousal privilege, used against the Moons, goes too far. Advocates of mandatory waiver aren’t interested in victims’ rights; if they were, they would respect a woman’s right to invoke her privilege not to testify. The privilege, after all, applies only to married people, who make up a small fraction of abuse victims (most are women and children hurt by boyfriends and ex-husbands).

A married woman who wants to stay married might have many good reasons not to want to testify against her husband. The law no longer prevents her (as it once may have) from testifying. She is free to change her mind about bringing charges or testifying if abuse continues.

If a wife knows she may be compelled to testify–the ultimate provocation–against a husband she genuinely fears, she is unlikely to seek help from the police and the courts. Welcome back to the bad old days, when victims had to fear both their abusers and the system.

Problems that have come out the research done from this funding are that it puts interest groups at odds with each other. The most prominent fight right now is between advocates of domestic violence and advocates for police across the country. In an article from by Suzanne (Morgan) from Journal of Women & Social Work the new law passed making it a crime for a person convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense could not own or possess a firearm. In detailing the new law the article stated:

On September 30, 1996, the bill, included with the Omnibus Consolidated

Appropriations Law of 1997, was signed into law as EL. 104-208, an

Amendment to Title 18 of the U.S. Code, sections 922 (d)(9) and (g)(9)

of the Federal Gun Control Act of 1968. The law prohibits persons whom

Have been convicted of misdemeanors involving domestic violence from

owning or possessing firearms. According to EL. 104-208, 1996, p. Stat.


As for the conflict the article went on to state:

Law enforcement organizations and Second Amendment advocates

have formed a powerful alliance to oppose the law. They have criticized

the firearms policy as unfair and too broad and have called for the

removal of the law’s retroactive feature. If they succeed in having the

retroactive application nullified, the previous status quo or “equilibrium” will

be restored, and efforts to have domestic violence become a major

policy issue will suffer a setback. However, feminist groups should not

lessen their efforts to end domestic violence and to affect necessary

changes in policy. No compromise on this policy should be acceptable,

because the intent is to protect human rights at the most basic level.

There are conflicts between interest groups all the time. Mostly, however these conflicts are between opposing groups and not those on the same side of an issue as in this case. The new awareness of domestic violence is for the most part helping as an article in (St. Louis Post Dispatch) stated:

That changed in the first year of Gov. Mel Carnahan’s first term. Missouri now spends $ 2.3 million on fighting domestic abuse. Missouri also gets about $ 3.4 million in federal funds, and some counties attach fees to marriage and divorce decrees to provide such services. More education, especially of professionals, is essential. That’s the only way to end the inconsistencies in the enforcement of domestic violence laws from county to county and courtroom to courtroom – and to guarantee that police and judges uphold the law equally.

Yes, Missouri has come a ways since 1980. But this month, and every time a woman or a child is the victim of family violence, we should remind ourselves that coming part of the way to safety is not far enough.

Another use of the funds from the (Violence Against Women Act) is in Clay County, Missouri. Where Federal grant money is being put to good use and is being matched by local dollars. A recent article in the Kansas City, Star gave a detailed description of the new program called DART for Domestic Abuse Response Team. The reporter, Shawna (Hamel) went into great detail with Sheriff Bob Boydston about the domestic violence problem in Clay County:

The unit is needed in Clay County, said Sheriff Bob Boydston.

“We started looking at the number of temporary restraining orders, or expartes, we issued in 1997, and the numbers had progressively increased in the last three years,” he said. “We really noticed a significant increase in child abuse cases that were very severe, along with cases of abuse to the elderly.”

More than 1,900 such orders were served in 1997, Boydston said. “We’re impacting this problem in a very positive fashion, and as far as we know, we re the only law enforcement agency in the state that has a specialized unit for domestic abuse,” he said.

“We have a unit whose main responsibility is dealing with the whole dynamic of domestic abuse, and it’s a unit, that when a woman has been abused, – mentally, verbally, physically – her safety and getting out of this situation is the most important thing in her life. We’re focused on the victim, and her children, if she has any, from resources to law enforcement assistance.”

If all the programs were dedicated to and focused on the victims and not on the survival of the program no one could or would dispute their effectiveness. Programs such as DART are only funded for three years at a time because they exist at the pleasure of bureaucrats and are not judged by what they do but how well they fill out their paper work. Such is the animal of our democracy repetitive and full of people in government with to much time on their hands. The problem of domestic violence will be with us always so why do we try to deal with it using temporary programs. Programs like DART should be not only mandatory because they are good for the community but because they save the citizenry tax dollars, insurance dollars and medical dollars. No one likes to end a paper with a great deal on extra added information but this problem is so serious that to cheat the reader out of the cost of domestic violence would be completely unfair. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research published an article by Diana (Zuckerman) and Stacey Friedman is the most comprehensive article I have yet on the actual cost of domestic violence. Most of the article is reprinted here:

The economic costs of domestic violence can be categorized as two types — direct costs and indirect costs. Direct costs consist of the value of the goods and services used in treating or preventing domestic violence; indirect costs consist of the value of goods and services lost because of domestic violence.

Direct Costs

The Costs of Domestic Violence Project focused on the direct costs of domestic violence in the following areas:

· Health Care, including emergency room care, hospitalization, initial or follow-up care at clinic or doctor’s office, nursing home care, dental care, mental health care, costs of treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy complications and birth defects, and alcohol and drug abuse treatment;

· Child well-being, including child protective services, foster care, counseling, special education, teen pregnancy, and positive toxicology infants;

· Housing, including emergency shelters for homeless and battered women, supported housing such as transitional, Section 8, or public housing, and foreclosure and eviction;

· Criminal Justice and the Legal System, including police time for arrests and responses to telephone calls, prison and detention costs, probation and parole costs, prosecution, criminal court, civil or family court, custody litigation, child support enforcement, and juvenile court;

· Social Services, including domestic violence prevention/education, counseling, job training, advocacy program costs, training costs for police, doctors, etc.; and

· Other Costs, for example, property damage.

Direct costs can be calculated by multiplying the prevalence of domestic violence by the cost of the services used as a result of the violence. This is a useful method for determining the cost-effectiveness of intervention strategies because once a baseline cost is established, any change in the cost (either from a decline in prevalence or a decline in cost) from one year to the next can be evaluated after the implementation of a new intervention. Of course, not all interventions are successful in preventing future domestic violence.

Table 1 includes data on the prevalence of domestic violence in various services (”usage”) and their costs. These data should be considered only as illustrative of how the cost model might be applied; costs vary in different regions of the country and services also vary widely. Further review is necessary before reliable total cost figures can be calculated.

Table 1. Examples of Direct Costs of Domestic Violence

Service Usage Costs

HEALTH CARE: Emergency room care 1.5 million women seek medical treatment for injuries related to abuse (AMA, 1992). A study at Rush Medical Center in Chicago estimated an average charge for medical services to abused women, children, and older people as $1,633 per person per year, excluding psychological or follow-up costs (Meyer, 1992).

CHILD WELL-BEING: Foster care Of the 256,000 children in foster care (1995 est.), an estimated 50% are victims of child abuse (Committee on Ways & Means, 1994). In 45-59% of child abuse cases the mother is also being abused (McKibben, De Vos, & Newberger: 1989; Stark & Flitcraft: 1988). The percentage of child abuse or foster care cases that result from domestic violence is unknown. $2.5 billion Federal foster care expenditures under Title IV-E in 1993 (Committee on Ways & Means, 1994). New York spends $13,600 per child per year in foster care benefits, excluding protective services (Zorza: 1994).

HOMELESSNESS: Emergency shelters 41% of homeless women in family shelters report that they had been battered (Bassuk & Rosenberg, 1988). The Women Against Abuse Center in Philadelphia reported an annual budget of $2.5 million, or $68 per person per day for housing and services (Working Woman, 1994).

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Prison and detention costs of batterers 20,170 male prisoners were incarcerated for harming an intimate in 1991 (U.S. DOJ, 1994). Average annual operating expenditures per inmate for all State and Federal correctional facilities (nationwide) in 1990 were $15,513 (U.S. DOJ, 1992).

* For a more complete description of the full range of indirect costs, see the full report.

Health Care

Within the health care area, relatively reliable usage and cost data appear to be available for certain services, including hospitalization and emergency room care. On the other hand, more specific data on the number or percent of battered women who use health services such as treatment for AIDS/HIV and other STDs are needed. It is estimated that there are 12 million cases of STDs among women in the United States each year and that treatment costs $5 billion annually; however, national data on battered women and STDs are lacking (Center for Disease Control, 1995). Because women in violent relationships are often unable to negotiate condom use, they may face a higher risk of AIDS/HIV and STDs, along with a higher risk of unwanted pregnancy.

Child Well-Being

Although research documents the risks that domestic violence poses to the physical and mental health of children living in that environment, there are very limited data on the prevalence and costs of children’s services. Straus (1992) estimated that 10 million teenagers are at risk for exposure to domestic violence each year, suggesting the need to collect more information on the impact and the resulting demand on services. Edleson (1997a and 1997b) provides an overview of studies documenting the overlap between child maltreatment and women battering as well as the development problems children who witness domestic violence experience. All researchers found that at least 20 percent of men who were violent toward women partners had physically abused a child — in some studies, the estimates were 50 to 75 percent.

In estimating prevalence of child abuse related to spousal abuse, experts should consider research evidence that half of all children in foster care are victims of child abuse, and that in about half of child abuse cases, the mother is also being abused; moreover, the majority of children living in homes where there is domestic violence are also abused (Bowker, 1988; see Table 1).

In some instances, child abuse occurs in a home where there is no spousal abuse and vice versa; in other homes, there is child abuse and spousal abuse that have the same cause; in other situations, domestic violence may actually cause child abuse and neglect. For example, a child may be physically harmed when he or she tries to defend the mother, or a child may be emotionally harmed or neglected because of the violence in the home. In order to develop a model for calculating the direct and indirect costs of domestic violence, it is appropriate to include the costs related to a child living in an environment of domestic violence, but if child abuse occurs that is not related to the domestic violence, those costs should not be included. It is difficult to make this distinction, because there are no national data on what percentage of child abuse or neglect is caused by or related to domestic violence. The cost of medical care and social services, including foster care placement, for abused and neglected children would be a direct cost of domestic violence if the domestic violence caused the child abuse or neglect. Since child abuse and neglect are the major causes of foster care placement, foster care could be a substantial direct cost of domestic violence.


Research has produced a wide range of estimates of the percentage of abused women in emergency homeless shelters and in publicly subsidized housing. Bassuk and Rosenberg (1988) found that 41 percent of homeless women in family shelters reported that they had been battered. However, we were unable to obtain nationally representative cost figures for shelters, and located only local cost figures (see Table 1).

Criminal Justice

Much of the available data on the costs of domestic violence to the criminal justice system is not at the national level. There are very limited data on arrests by police, 911 calls, and protective orders, making it impossible to construct a national cost estimate. Because the data on the use of criminal and civil courts are based on reports from a significant number of states, they are more reliable (Table 1 shows some national data on incarcerations).

Indirect Costs

In determining the indirect economic costs of domestic violence, the Costs of Domestic Violence Project focused on the following areas:

· Lost Productivity, such as job loss and unemployment, productivity lost due to women prevented from working by partner, coming in late or inability to concentrate due to violence at home, disruption at the work place by the batterer, lost productivity at work for medical reasons, lost productivity at work for court appearances or other appointments, lost promotion/advancement, lost productivity due to incarceration, and lost productivity at home for medical or other reasons;

· Mortality, including the death of the battered women and, less frequently, the death of the batterer or their children.

· Social and Psychological Costs, such as losses to women, communities and society in terms of quality of life and restraints on human potential and activities. Indicators for measuring such costs are in their infancy and are therefore excluded from the indirect economic costs model in the Costs of Domestic Violence Project. However, some of the potential indirect social and psychological costs are discussed below.

Lost Productivity and Mortality

In determining the indirect economic cost of domestic violence, researchers need to consider two kinds of values: 1) the cost of lost productivity (e.g., from illness, court appearances, or incarceration), and 2) the cost of mortality. Much of the data on productivity losses is based on small scale studies and data on the prevalence of domestic violence among working women are not available. Nevertheless, preliminary calculations for losses due to domestic violence can be made. Table 2 demonstrates how we can integrate the finding that 30 percent of abused working women lose their jobs with information on women’s earnings by age to yield estimates of the cost of lost productivity.

Table 2. Examples of Indirect Costs *

Cause Number Affected Loss

Job loss of victim 24% – 30% abused working women reported losing their jobs (Shepard & Pence, 1988; Stanley, 1992). U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1993, provides data on women s earning scales, by age.**

Poor work habits 64% of battered women arrive at work an hour late 5 times per month (Stanley, 1992). U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1993, provides data on women s earning scales, by age.**

Disruption at work place 75% of victims harassed at work by abuser (Friedman & Couper, 1987). U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1993, provides data on women s earning scales, by age.**

Lost Productivity Due to Premature Mortality 29% of female homicide victims are murdered by an intimate or other relative (Bachman & Saltzman, 1995). U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1993, provides data on women s earning scales, by age.**

* For a more complete description of the full range of indirect costs, see the full report.

** Data on the “number affected” can be combined with information on women s earnings by age to yield estimates of the cost of lost productivity.

Indirect Social and Psychological Costs

Indirect social and psychological costs of domestic violence include the decrease in quality of life experienced by women, communities, and society as a result of domestic violence and the increase in restraints on battered women’s human potential and activities resulting from the violence. These costs are documented in many descriptive studies of battered women (Commonwealth Fund, 1995; Estes, 1993; Miller, Cohen, and Wiersema, 1995; and Russell and Megaard, 1988). For example, participants in a focus group run by Victim Services told of losing control of joint resources or custody of their children, constantly relocating in order to avoid their batterers, being forced to sever social relations with neighbors, friends, and family, being embarrassed by visible injuries in public situations, feeling unable to protect their children, having their clothing hidden from them, and therefore being unable to leave home, hiding out with family or friends until they became an unacceptable burden, and staying in shelters in remote locations so they could not be tracked.

The psychological effects of domestic violence that have been evaluated include depression, suicide, chronic anxiety, and sleep deprivation (Raphael and Tolman, 1997). Indicators for measuring indirect social and psychological costs are still being developed; once completed, researchers would have to attach a dollar estimate to them in order to calculate indirect costs.


For many battered women, welfare is the only income source which allows them to immediately free themselves from financial dependence on their abusers. Three recent studies on domestic violence show that between 57 and 65 percent of women receiving welfare have ever experienced domestic abuse, and between 15 and 32 percent are current victims of physical abuse (Raphael and Tolman, 1997). This has important implications for the effectiveness of training and education programs and the impact of welfare reform.

Welfare reform, depending on how it is implemented in a given state, may have positive or negative effects on the direct and indirect costs of domestic violence. States that are responsive to the needs of victims of domestic violence within their training and employment programs face higher direct costs through the provision of support services and other assistance. However, assuming that their interventions are effective, the long-term indirect costs will be lower as women are able to increase their earning capacity and productivity. Conversely, in states that do not incorporate the additional support services, domestic violence results in the loss of higher earnings that battered women on welfare could have received had they completed their job training or education programs.

Similarly, the imposition of sanctions against women on welfare for noncompliance with work or other requirements will have direct and indirect costs. Some states have chosen to pass the Family Violence Option, which excludes battered women from work requirements, and other requirements if participating will put her at risk. Allowing these women to continue to receive benefits will increase direct costs in the short-term; however, it may decrease the long-term economic costs of the abuse. Those states that do not have the Family Violence Option may see an immediate drop in expenditures as women are taken off the welfare roles. However, these cutbacks in welfare payments could lead to increased domestic violence as women, seeing no financial alternative, remain with their batterers. Those who do not return to husbands or male partners may turn to homeless shelters or see their children placed in foster care, thus increasing the costs of domestic violence.


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