Domestic abuse revison notes. CRIM102 Lancaster


Domestic abuse

  • Domestic abuse

  • Gendered crime

  • Links to feminism

  • Media influence

  • Economic status

  • Race issues

  • Disability issues

  • Co-offending

  • Case 1 -  Maxine Carr and Ian Brady

  • Prosecution for domestic violence

  • Future for domestic violence


“any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse: Psychological, Physical, Sexual, Financial,  Emotional.”

Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.  

Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten their victim.

(Home Office, 2013)

  • Domestic violence exists on a continuum

    • Not all abuse is equal (OHOC)

Issues with the definition

  • 16 or over

    • this excludes children who may have been abused by other children

  • Intimate partners

    • this is vague. What counts as intimate? Must it be sex or is simply a romantic relationship enough?

  • Only used for policy

    • There is no domestic abuse offence, it is investigated as other offences such as assault. Claim this is because domestic violence is so varied that it would be hard to create legislation that covered all aspects of domestic violence.

Types of domestic violence

  • Honour killing

    • Often sanctioned by the wider community

      • Women do not hold up to community standards of modesty of purity and so bring feelings of shame

    • Can be done on men who don’t control wives (OHOC)

  • FGM

  • Coercive control

    • Highest long-term effects

    • Deprivation of living necessities

    • Cut off from family and friends

    • Micro-regulation (Stark, 2007)

      • Use of tracking apps (Dunlap, 2012)

    • Gendered crime

      • Women exected to keep a clean house and behave “appropriately”

  • Emotional abuse

  • Financial abuse

    • Interfering with education

    • Stealing money

    • Controlling bank cards

  • Threats of abuse

  • Physical abuse

    • Pushing

    • Slapping

    • Kicking

    • Strangling

      • The most familiar type of abuse

      • Increased reporting in recent years

      • Not all incidents are reported due to fear of consequences

  • Sexual abuse

    • Sex workers and sex-trafficking victims abused by so-called boyfriends

    • Exploit across gender and ethnic lines (OHOC)

Risk Factors for Domestic abuse

  • Drug use

  • Alcoholism

    • These lower inhibitions and can increase anger

    • Can lead to economic trouble

  • Divorce

  • History of control

    • Not always visible

    • Many offenders are ‘regular guys’ with no sign that they may turn to control (Campbell et al, 2003)

  • Joined family

  • Access to a firearm

    • May have no history of physical abuse before the homicide

      • Emotional abuse or coercive control can lead to homicide in the same way as physical abuse can


  • Affects 1 in 4 women

  • Affects 1 in 8 men

  • 2 women a week killed by a current or former partner

  • 30 men


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