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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

IAS Fellows' Seminar - Prosecuting domestic violence cases: Is a new offence the answer?

25th January 2016, 13:00 to 14:00, IAS Seminar Room, Palace Green, Professor Heather Douglas (University of Queensland, Australia)

Both researchers and successive law reform bodies have identified significant difficulties in relation to the prosecution of criminal offences in the domestic violence context. Issues include police and prosecution failure to enforce the existing criminal law; problems with proving criminal offences; the victim’s attitude to prosecution and the fact that not all domestic violence fits (neatly) into existing criminal law offences - which are often focussed on a single incident. Specific evidentiary concerns that have been identified include: that it may be difficult to prove domestic violence offences because victims may not be able to accurately recall dates and times of an incident; evidence may be uncorroborated; disclosures of abuse to others may be inadmissible on hearsay grounds and there may be no (visible) evidence of injuries sustained. In order to address these concerns some have called for the introduction of a specific domestic violence offence. Indeed in 2015 an offence of controlling and coercive behaviour was introduced in England and Wales. This presentation considers this new offence and other similar debates and developments in the Australian context. 

Fellows' seminars take place on Monday lunchtimes in the seminar room at Cosin's Hall.

Places are limited and so any academic colleagues interested in attending a seminar should contact the Institute in advance to reserve a place.

The aim of these seminars is to develop new thinking on the big issues that are of current concern/interest for the Fellows . Each Fellow is asked to present a core idea that informs their current work, or a problem that they are tackling, that could benefit from cross-disciplinary thinking. These seminars are informal and designed to encourage discussion.


Contact for more information about this event.