Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence — Have We Got the Balance Right?

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Abstract

That states should act to prevent domestic violence and protect victims is clearly acknowledged in international law. Yet international law confirms also that victims, perpetrators and their families have rights to privacy, to a family life and to a home. The extent to which rights to respect for private and family life should be interfered with in order to protect victims remains in dispute. With the aim of improving the protection afforded to domestic violence victims in England and Wales, in 2011–2012 the police and courts piloted the use of two new short-term protective measures; domestic violence protection notices and orders. Between 2012 and 2013 the police also piloted the domestic violence disclosure scheme, which saw prospective victims provided with information about their partner’s previous violent behaviour. The disclosure scheme and the domestic violence protection orders and notices were rolled out nationally in March 2014. In this article, consideration is given to the impact these two initiatives will have on the privacy of victims and perpetrators, an issue not considered in government evaluations of the pilots. This article analyses whether the roll-out of these new initiatives is justified, given their potential for interference in private and family life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-121
JournalThe Journal of Criminal Law
Volume79
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015

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