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Violence against women and their children affects everybody. It impacts on the health, wellbeing and safety of a significant proportion of Australians throughout all states and territories and places an enormous burden on the nation’s economy across family and community services, health and hospitals, income-support and criminal justice systems.

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ANROWS was established by the Commonwealth and all state and territory governments of Australia to produce, disseminate and assist in applying evidence for policy and practice addressing violence against women and their children.

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RESEARCH REPORT

Transforming legal understandings of intimate partner violence

This research examines homicide trials in which self-defence is raised by women who have killed an abusive intimate partner, focussing on the recent case of Western Australia v. Liyanage.

This report examines how and why changes to the law of self-defence have not had their intended effects. It explores how legal professionals and experts understand IPV, influencing which facts are selected and presented as relevant in the criminal process and the meaning made of those facts.

This report demonstrates that the model of IPV relied on by prosecutors, expert witnesses, judges and others can have the effect either of revealing the violence a woman claims to have acted in self-defence against, or of undercutting that claim. It suggests that the current models of IPV used in the criminal justice system prepackage a defendant’s defensive actions in response to IPV as unreasonable.

This report has been written to be an educational and training resource for law students, police, prosecution and defence lawyers, expert witnesses, and judges.

Content note

This research report contains descriptions of physical and sexual violence, and child abuse.

 

Publication details

This work is part of the ANROWS Research reports series. ANROWS Research reports (Horizons) are in-depth reports on empirical research produced under ANROWS’s research program.


Authors

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR STELLA TARRANT
Law School, The University of Western Australia

PROFESSOR JULIA TOLMIE
Faculty of Law, The University of Auckland

GEORGE GIUDICE, PRINCIPAL
George Giudice Law Chambers


ISBN: 978-1-925925-07-4 (print) | 978-1-925925-08-1 (online)

118 pp.

 

Suggested citation

Tarrant, S., Tolmie, J., & Giudice, G. (2019). Transforming legal understandings of intimate partner violence (Research report 03/2019). Sydney, NSW: ANROWS.

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