Crime, punishment, family violence, and the cloak of legal invisibility

Bronitt, Simon and Kukulies-Smith, Wendy (2013) Crime, punishment, family violence, and the cloak of legal invisibility. Journal of Australian Studies, 37 3: 390-401. doi:10.1080/14443058.2013.814583

Author Bronitt, Simon
Kukulies-Smith, Wendy
Title Crime, punishment, family violence, and the cloak of legal invisibility
Journal name Journal of Australian Studies   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1444-3058
Publication date 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/14443058.2013.814583
Open Access Status
Volume 37
Issue 3
Start page 390
End page 401
Total pages 12
Place of publication Melbourne, Australia
Publisher Routledge
Language eng
Abstract In this article, the authors trace how the Anglo-Australian system of criminal law constructs crime within the family differently from other forms of crime. The zone of legal impunity for intrafamilial crime was carved out by special defences and immunities, such as provocation and marital rape, as well as policing policies and practices that effectively decriminalised “domestic” forms of physical and sexual abuse. Legal impunity was never absolute, and there were notable exceptions where the familial and gendered aspects of the crime in fact aggravated the offence, such as the law's treatment of spousal murder by females as a form of “petty treason”, warranting the most severe punishment of burning at the stake. Reforms in the late twentieth century removed overt forms of gender discrimination from the criminal law, exposing a new legal visibility of crime within “the family”, though as the authors conclude, there are still remnants of differential treatment in fields of sentencing law and practice.
Keyword Criminal law
Family violence
Domestic violence
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ
Additional Notes Special Issue: The family in Australia

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: TC Beirne School of Law Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 1 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 17 Jul 2014, 13:37:25 EST by Carmen Buttery on behalf of T.C. Beirne School of Law