In their recent submission to the Victims and Prisoners Bill 2023 the Centre for Women’s Justice have proposed an extension to the householder defence to victims/survivors of domestic abuse who use violent resistance in response. These proposals were previously rejected by the government during the passage of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021. Alongside these proposals, the government has asked the Law Commission to consider victims who kill in response to domestic abuse. As the calls for reform to the existing defence framework for victims/survivors of domestic abuse who use violent resistance in response builds across practice, academia and third sector organisations, it is opportune to learn what members of the public know about self-defence claims and how they think the defence should operate. Parliament was previously influenced by public perceptions of self-defence during the passage of the Crime and Courts Bill 2013 which introduced the householder defence. As such, public opinion can be a valuable voice in the call for legal change. Finding out what the public know about self-defence claims and how they think self-defence should work can help shape legal reform and provide insights into current awareness of the circumstances of those who offend in response to domestic abuse. Access to self-defence in the context of domestic abuse depends not only on the legislative framework but broader understanding of the circumstances of that abuse. Finding out what the public views are on these important issues will help inform whether we need more than statutory change in this area. For example, juror directions. This chapter sets out our approach to designing a public perception research study, and the importance of pre-pilot study co-creation workshopping and focus group testing. These allow for the refinement of vignettes and facilitative questions in a manner which elucidates the areas the study seeks to capture in focus groups with the public and enables further consideration of how to approach the issue of gender.
|Title of host publication||Research Handbook on Domestic Violence|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 2024|