In addition, the recent Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act has extended the reach of the legal system in tackling domestic violence.
Kirsten Campbell | Goldsmiths, University of London
This legislation has done a number of things: it has made common assault an arrestable offence for the first time and it has strengthened the civil law in relation to domestic violence to ensure that co-habiting couples of any sex, and couples of any sex who have never been married or do not live together, have access to the same non-molestation and occupation orders as those who are married. So, the drive to apply existing legal options in the private sphere along with making previously legal behaviour illegal, taken together, constitute an important change in the criminalization of violence against women—a drive to apply the law that Wilson may have agreed with.
Of course, it is too soon to say to what extent this criminalization of domestic violence is likely to result in long-term effects. Indeed, some commentators, in addition to Sherman et al. Hoyle and Sanders and, because of its incident-led approach, takes the violence out of its social context Miller and Meloy An Australian study on the effectiveness of legal protection from domestic violence for young women suggests that the impact of legal protection is not straightforward and varies according to whether or not the young women has sought the help of the police, or the help of the police and the courts, and also varies with the severity of the violence that they had experienced Young et al.
Alongside this presumption to arrest, police forces in England and Wales have also been active in developing specialist units to deal with domestic violence. The key task of these units is to support the victim. Superficially, the development of such dedicated resources would appear to suggest that women who are supported through the work of such units have at their disposal a better service than existed prior to their implementation.
However, problems remain, such as in the extent to which the needs of women from ethnic minorities are understood and met Patel , whether nor not such service delivery meets with notions of victim empowerment Hoyle and Sanders and the extent to which many women still feel patronized and stereotyped by the police Women's National Commission That report evidenced sample data in which of incidents to which the police were called, were recorded as a crime, 90 people were charged with an offence, of which 45 were convicted at court, thus illustrating a major problem with attrition and lending support to the views of Stanko quoted earlier in this paper.
More recent policy interventions have focused on the role of the courts within the criminal justice system. In , the Crown Prosecution Service established five specialist, fast-track, domestic violence courts. The evaluation of the work of these courts reports that they have enhanced the effectiveness of court and support services for victims, made advocacy and information sharing easier and improved victim satisfaction with and confidence in the criminal justice system Cook et al.
It was announced in October that on the basis of this success, the number of specialist courts was to be increased to 25 throughout England and Wales. However, as Robinson and Cook report, half of the victims still chose to retract their statement and withdraw their support from prosecution despite the supportive nature of this specialist legal process.
Finally, increased awareness of the cost of domestic homicide, the number of domestic homicides and the recognition that both the characteristics of the victims and the offenders of domestic violence are hugely variable has led some police forces, most notably the Metropolitan Police, to consider how best to deploy their resources in an effort to pre-empt such incidents. This has resulted in multi-agency risk-assessment conferences, the aim of which is to target those who present the highest risk of domestic homicide.
Linked to the greater awareness of the processes underpinning the phenomenon of repeat victimization more generally, the risk factors that are likely to result in an escalation of violence leading to homicide are used to allocate resources and engage in appropriate intervention see Brookman and Maguire ; Hoyle b. Embedded in all these responses is a belief in the symbolic power of the law and an acceptance of a process that criminalizes behaviour that a short time ago was and still is, by many seen to be acceptable.
Yet, simultaneously, these developments vindicate those feminists who campaigned for the private experiences of women to be taken seriously. However, behind this symbolism, problems remain. As Chesney-Lind comments, these developments place advocates for victims in an uneasy alliance with criminal justice professionals—alliances that may have unintended consequences. One consequence is the way in which the voices of the women themselves, and what they might want from the criminal justice system if anything , are lost see also Hoyle There is a further danger here, however.
That danger exists for the organizations that represent women, as their campaigns are potentially co-opted in the interests of the state, in circumstances in which the securing of confidence in the criminal justice system constitutes the overriding concern see also Walklate Chapter 6.
See a Problem?
Moreover, as Chesney-Lind documents, the implementation of the mandatory arrest stance for domestic violence in North America has frequently resulted in an increase in the arrest of women for their use of violence in fighting back see also Miller and Meloy This, in her view, has contributed to the rising statistics on female violence and has raised the visibility of male victims of such violence, some of which is now reflected in official statistics. Lewis reports, however, that all may not be lost by this investment in the symbolic power of the legal system. From her study, she considers that the legal system can provide some protection for women in violent relationships but, obviously, only for that small proportion of women whose cases reach the courts.
So, as Lundgren et al. Thus, we are returned to Wilson's larger agenda. Yet, despite the recognition of the importance of this wider social context, considerable struggle, and contemporarily not only feminist struggle, remains focused on the law and the criminal justice system, and, in policy terms, almost to the exclusion of exploring other options like the extension of refuge provision.
A similar one-dimensional approach can be found in responses to sexual violence. Much feminist campaigning during the s and s in England and Wales and elsewhere devoted a good deal of energy on challenging the legal definition of rape and the use of sexual history evidence in the court.
However, as Kelly reports, issues relating to sexual violence were largely sidelined until the late s in the face of the focus on domestic violence and did not really reappear until the problem of attrition in cases of rape reappeared. Section 41 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act endeavoured to address the failure of the Sexual Offences Act to deal with the evidential admissability of sexual history.
The legislation ruled that no sexual history evidence should be admitted or questions about it allowed, unless a judge had ruled that such questioning lay within one or more of four exceptions. An evaluation study of prosecuted cases in the aftermath of this legislation Kelly et al. The authors of this study point to a number of areas for improvement in the understanding and the application of this piece of legislation, but, arguably, the biggest change to the legal understanding of rape was brought about by the Sexual Offences Act in England and Wales that came into force in May This legislation confirmed the gender-neutral nature of the act of rape and extended the definition to include the mouth as another orifice of penetration though the object of penetration remains the penis.
This legislation also endeavoured to codify an understanding of reasonable belief in consent and the steps that the accused had to take to ascertain whether or not the complainant had consented. So, in many ways, this legislation can be seen as a landmark in achieving and addressing many of the historical complaints that radical feminism in particular had of the legal understanding of rape in England and Wales.
In reviewing responses to rape in a European context, Regan and Kelly show that with the exception of the Czech Republic, Germany and Latvia, conviction rates for rape have declined within all other European jurisdictions since , with the greatest rate of decline being in Hungary, at 27 per cent, closely followed by England and Wales, at 22 per cent. The current conviction rate for case of rape stands at 5. This, despite the fact that 11 countries during that same time period either made rape a gender-neutral offence or included men as victims within it, removed the exemption of rape in marriage and extended the definition to include other forms of penetration Regan and Kelly That report documents that despite the changes in practice between the police and the Crown Prosecution Service CPS introduced in , which, amongst other things, transferred the charging decisions in more serious cases from the police to the CPS, and introduced special measures for vulnerable and intimidated witnesses, of actual recorded crimes, the suspect was known to the victim in cases.
Of those cases, the victim withdrew from the prosecution in ; of the remaining cases, the suspect was charged in A sample of 75 of these cases was examined in further detail; of these 75, the CPS subsequently offered no evidence in 17 of them. In a further 19, the defendant was acquitted after trial. There were 39 convictions in total, made up of 20 guilty pleas and 19 jury verdicts of guilty. Given that these figures relate to , there will be some reflection of the Sexual Offences Act within them, though it is difficult to estimate the extent of the impact of this piece of legislation at this point in time.
Introduction to Deviance, Crime, and Social Control
That document put a number of proposals on the policy agenda that include the use of expert witnesses to put evidence on the psychological impact of rape on the victims before the jury; to allow adult victims of rape to give video-recorded evidence; to consider whether or not the law with regard to drunkenness in cases of rape needs further definition; and to consider whether or not evidence of complaints should be admissible in a trial, irrespective of when the alleged incident occurred.
Proposals such as these say much about perceptions concerning the problem of attrition in such cases, both in England and Wales and elsewhere, and what might be considered to be the appropriate policy response to this problem. As in the case of domestic violence, campaigns have continued to be focused on the law as constituting a mechanism for change, epitomized perhaps in the priorities for action laid out in the Cross Government Action Plan referenced at the beginning of this paper. They are listed below.
National roll-out of training for specially trained officers who gather evidence and liaise with victims of sexual offences. Strengthening the capacity of specialist rape prosecutors and rape co-ordinators to ensure the best cases are built. Introducing sexual offences training for all barristers prosecuting in serious sexual offence cases.
Extending the network of Sexual Assault Referral Centres and piloting Independent Sexual Violence Advisors to obtain high quality evidence and provide support throughout the criminal justice process. These priorities reveal much about the centrality that sexual violence has achieved for policy action within the criminal justice process in England and Wales—a centrality that Elizabeth Wilson might be very satisfied by. It is certainly quite a different agenda for action from that of 25 years ago.
This is not the place to discuss the detailed implications of this range of proposals, but it is interesting to note that, as Jones testifies, such proposals alongside the Sexual Offences Act might stand as a testament to the achievements of the Rape Crisis Federation. This organization was formed in to provide the rape crisis movement with a national voice and secured Home Office funding in that facilitated its ability to be heard at a national level, though that funding was withdrawn just prior to the Sexual Offences Act's receiving Royal Assent.
In addition, of course, it should be remembered that changes in the law, their symbolic resonance notwithstanding, are not necessarily accompanied by changes in public attitudes. Moreover, a widely reported case in , in which a female complainant of rape admitted in the witness box to being unable to remember whether or not she consented to sexual intercourse because of the amount she had drunk, opened up the debate on the legal relationship between drunkenness and consent, echoing a range of problematic issues in trying to legislate for consent—a problem that remains. Moreover, that activity has not been confined to the United Kingdom.
Much of this activity, internationally, has been pre-occupied with measuring the nature and extent of violence against women see, e.
- Law’s Virtues: Fostering Autonomy and Solidarity in American Society;
- Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII.
- Centre of Law and Society.
Heiskanen and Piipsa on Finland; Lundgren et al. Yet, as the findings cited from Regan and Kelly indicate, despite the changes that have taken place within the criminal justice system in many of the countries that they considered in relation to rape , problems, particularly the problem of attrition, remain. It is also clear that the problem of attrition remains in the context of domestic violence and women's unwillingness to participate within the criminal justice system persists. Whilst there is some evidence supporting the notion that women are less willing to be complicit with violent men see, e.
Savolainen ; Giddens that is perhaps reflected in their greater willingness to report sexual assault and domestic violence, the underlying problematic relationship that women seem to have with the criminal justice system on the one hand and the recourse to the use of violence by men on the other appears to remain the same.
So, what is revealed by this story? To summarize, it is clear that violence against women is now squarely on the policy agenda. Yet, simultaneously, this story also hints at the problems of co-option Chesney-Lind : Matthews ; of policies whose central pre-occupation is a voting public voters include women! Yet, the focus on the criminal justice system as an appropriate arena for action remains, despite the, at best ambivalent, evidence as to what might be achieved by the system for women or some men, for that matter and their experience of violence.
The question is: why? She defines imaginary as:. However, this Other can never be totally suppressed because it is always and already implicated in the social conditions which have given rise to the demand for governance in the first place.
Legal Education Review
Carlen 5. Such imaginings leave open the question of what and who comprise the imagined in this recourse to law. Wilson argued cogently that changes in the law, especially where the law supported violence against women, needed change and, indeed, as this paper has already made clear, the law has changed in many different respects and in many different constituencies. So, the law needed changing, and the law has changed, but what has been imagined in those changes?
What knowledge, and who, has been suppressed in this recourse to law?
The clues to answering this question are to be found in Wilson's own caveat: not to campaign for stiff sentences, but against the deep-rooted sexism in the law. This paper has already cited evidence that indicates that such a process can, and does, have unintended consequences, from making the violence worse for some women to their own arrest for retaliation. Yet, we have persisted in recourse to this option in England and Wales as evidenced in recent legislation in relation to domestic violence and rape and have persisted in ensuring as robust a policing response as possible in risk-assessing repeat domestic violence as Hoyle b illustrates.
But what promise, if any, lies in this stance?
For example, in , there was extensive media coverage of the murder of a woman Vicky Horgan by her ex-partner that paid detailed attention to the inadequacies of policing policies that failed to listen to the potential victim. Incidents like this, and their aftermath, pose a fundamental question for those pre-occupied with risk assessment in these circumstances: how much liberty should be traded for security? Hudson It could be argued that Vicky Horgan's murder could never have been prevented, short of curtailing the liberty of either herself or her ex partner on probably rather spurious evidence.
Is this what we want the law, and those charged with implementing the practical policies derived from the law, to do? Moreover, simultaneously, despite the increasing sophistication associated with this kind of response, the problem of attrition in cases of domestic violence and rape remains the same or has, indeed, worsened. This returns us to the deep-rooted sexism of the law and who is imagined within it. The centrality of male knowledge equating with rational legal knowledge has been well documented by feminist criminology over the last 25 years.
Collaborative Research Networks
Arguably, this has been evidenced in this discussion by the persistence of the problem of attrition—a problem that seems to transcend national boundaries. So, who has been imagined in this recourse to the legal process as a site for change? On the surface, it may appear that the needs of women as voiced by feminist campaigns have been so imagined, but have they?
A deeper analysis might suggest that these imaginings have rather been the needs of the criminal justice process itself along with those who inhabit that space. The question needs to be asked, therefore, that given the continued persistence of attrition rates, as an example, what other constituencies have benefited from these decades of change benefits for individual women notwithstanding? In this particular debate, the other refers to those who are subjected to the deep-rooted sexism embedded within the law or, as Smart would say, phallogocentrism.
However, the question that this dilemma poses is ever more pertinent contemporarily than when Wilson commented on it all those years ago. In Interrogating Incest Vikki Bell focuses on the issue of incest and its place in sociological theory, feminist theory and criminal law. By examining incest from a critical Foucauldian framework she considers how feminist discourse on incest itself fits into existing ways of talking about.
Social conflict approach. Everyday low prices. An important and illuminating feminist analysis of the law It is to be highly recommended for those concerned with sociology, women's studies, law, social. She has also conducted research about divorce and children of divorced couples. Smart is an important figure within the feminist criminology world. Her book titled Women, Crime and Criminology, written in , remains a key feminist critique of criminology.
For this sociology essay I shall be researching and comparing three social perspective theories on crime, Marxism, Functionalism, and Feminism. I will be attempting to write how the three theories compare and conflict with each other. Carol Smart August 03, Feminism and the power of law eBook, WorldCat. This first wave of feminism saw social change and therefore sociologists could no longer ignore gender inequality Abbott, Wallace, Law, crime and sexuality : essays in feminism. The exam question you are given can either be asking why males are offending more than females in which case you would wrote about male offending , or it can be asking why females offend less than males.
Based on the shipping address you selected, the following changes will be made to your order before it is processed: Currency and shipping options will change to reflect those available in the selected region. Great Britain. Edition Notes Bibliography: p Series Sociology of law and crime. Classifications Dewey Decimal Class Criminology chapter 10 Flashcards Quizlet.
Sociology of Crime Flashcards Quizlet. Chapter 7. Deviance, Crime, and Social Control. Feminism and the power of law. Carol Smart -- Carol Smart presents a new gendered analysis of the power of law and argues for a feminist, post-structuralist approach. She comments on pornography as well as discussing recent research Sociology of Law, Crime and Deviance Archives - Sociology.
Law, Crime and Sexuality Essays in Feminism. The book is divided into three sections, each prefaced by a specifically written introduction, which examine the major trends in contemporary thought including: the shift from criminology to the sociology of law; the identification of law as a site of struggle rather than as a tool of reform;. Follow this link to read a PowerPoint presentation about feminist perspectives on education PowerPoint on feminist perspectives The key terms used in the PowerPoint are: gendered roles, gender inequalities, male supremacy, gender inequality, gendered subjects, gendered education, discrimination, patriarchy, patriarchal schools.
Feminism and the Power of Law - Rakuten. Marxism functionalism and feminism theories on crime. Feminism and the power of law in SearchWorks catalog. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders. American feminists have identified law as an instrument of male supremacy since their first national gathering at Seneca Falls, New York in Critiques of law thus became an important part of the early feminist movement, which succeeded in eradicating the most blatant examples of legal sexism.
The successes of the contemporary feminist movement might not have happened without one of those. Get this from a library! Carol Smart -- Feminism still provides one of the most exciting areas of intellectual work. In spite of the view of some that we have entered a phase of post-feminism, it is still stimulating new ways of thinking.