Battered women's experiences of the criminal justice system: Decentring the law

Douglas, Heather (2012) Battered women's experiences of the criminal justice system: Decentring the law. Feminist Legal Studies, 20 2: 121-134. doi:10.1007/s10691-012-9201-1

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Author Douglas, Heather
Title Battered women's experiences of the criminal justice system: Decentring the law
Journal name Feminist Legal Studies   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0966-3622
Publication date 2012-08
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10691-012-9201-1
Open Access Status
Volume 20
Issue 2
Start page 121
End page 134
Total pages 14
Editor Rosemary Auchmuty
Karin Van Marle
Place of publication Dordrecht, Netherlands
Publisher Springer
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Abstract This article takes up Smart's suggestion to examine the way the law works in practice. It explores the context of current criminal prosecutions of domestic violence offences in Queensland, Australia. This article argues that legal method is applied outside the higher courts or "judge-oriented" practice and that the obstacles inherent to legal method can be identified in the practices of police, lower court staff, magistrates and lawyers. This article suggests that it may be difficult to deconstruct legal method, even by focussing on law in practice, and as a result it may be difficult to successfully challenge law's truth claims in this way. The analysis of criminal prosecutions of domestic violence offences reported here supports Smart's earlier findings that women and children who seek redress through the criminal justice process find the process at best ambivalent and at worst, destructive. However, the article also shows how, in the Queensland context, women sometimes find their way to feminism and personal empowerment by going to law.
Keyword Domestic violence
Criminal law
Legal method
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Special Issue: Carol Smart's Feminism and the Power of Law

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
TC Beirne School of Law Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 0 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article
Scopus Citation Count Cited 1 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 04 Sep 2012, 15:40:09 EST by Carmen Buttery on behalf of T.C. Beirne School of Law