Criminalising domestic abuse: bringing perpetrators of domestic abuse to justice

  • 09 January 2019
  • 4.00PM - 6.00PM
  • Not a public event  |  Booking required: Yes
  • CL1.01, Clarendon Building  |  Directions

About | Criminalising domestic abuse: bringing perpetrators of domestic abuse to justice

Domestic abuse is a serious social problem and the human cost of this appalling crime is immeasurable. Despite this, it often remains a hidden offence, because of the systematic, often non-physical nature of the abuse and the intimate context in which it takes place, victims may fail to acknowledge or report it. Even when domestic abuse is reported it is well documented that the criminal justice system sometimes fails to respond effectively, with the consequence that perpetrators go unpunished and victims (predominantly female) are left unprotected. Ending violence against women and girls has therefore become a political priority.

To strengthen the legal response to domestic abuse, in recent years various laws have been introduced to criminalise non-physical abusive behaviour, a manifestation of abuse that the criminal law has traditionally struggled to address. This paper will critically evaluate some contemporary developments within the substantive criminal law. There is a particular focus on the efficacy of the new offence of coercive and controlling behaviour in bringing to justice perpetrators of abuse which takes place in an intimate or family relationship. It will be argued that the creation of a specific offence prohibiting non-physical harm in the domestic context is generally welcomed, problems with the substantive law and related investigative and prosecutorial procedures persist. Against the backdrop of new legislation proposed by the government, the paper considers whether a more robust criminal justice response is required to ensure that women and girls can live their lives free of violence and abuse.
This seminar will be conducted by Anne Lodge, senior law lecturer at Teesside University.

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