Source: (2010) In, Katherine Doolin, et. al, eds., Whose criminal justice? State or community?. Hook, Hampshire: Waterside Press. Pp. 223-241.
This chapter argues that in the UK context, historically, the dominant social discourse of the ideology of the privacy of family-life has influenced criminal justice responses to domestic violence crimes. As a result, interventions in the 1970s adopted a minimalist approach to tackling domestic violence. Socio-political perceptions of domestic violence have changed significantly since the 1970s: from a personal and family issue to a social and legal problem. The current day ‘criminalisation’ discourse of domestic violence, through the Domestic Violence and Victims Act 2004, largely offers victims’ protection through legislation, Although legislation provides basic protection for victims, laws and the criminal justice system are not able to manage the everyday threats of violence and abuse that victims are constantly exposed to in the home. The chapter argues that an exclusively institutionalised approach to tackling domestic violence crimes may not be the most appropriate way forward. This chapter explores the benefits of a community-based approach where ultimately the responsibility for combating domestic violence shifts from the criminal justice system to a localised-community setting. (excerpt)
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