Social entrapment: A realistic understanding of the criminal offending of primary victims of intimate partner violence Event as iCalendar

(Gender Studies, School of Social Sciences)

20 September 2018

12 - 1pm

Venue: Pat Hanan Room (207-501)

Location: Cultures, Languages and Linguistics Building

Professor Julia Tolmie | Auckland Law School

When women offend in response to violence from their intimate partner, the facts are often understood and constructed in court through particular 'theories of violence' that legal decision makers may not even be aware that they are using.

This paper suggests that in law there are two such theories. The first is an understanding of the violence as incidents of harm that take place within a relationship, and the second is an understanding of the violence as a 'cycle' that causes the victim to develop a 'traumatic bonding' with the person using violence.

When children are involved, intimate partner violence is understood as conceptually distinct from any abuse of the children. This paper suggests that it would be more accurate to conceptualise intimate partner violence as a form of social entrapment when investigating and describing the facts. It explains how this conceptual shift might make a difference to legal outcomes in cases where mothers are criminally prosecuted for failing to protect their children from injury or failing to provide necessaries, or where women are prosecuted for killing the person who has been using violence against them.

Professor Julia Tolmie researches in criminal law, family law and feminist legal jurisprudence, examining how the law understands, constructs and responds to vulnerability and precarity-particularly in the lives of women. She served as chair of the New Zealand Family Violence Death Review Committee from December 2011-2016, deputy chair in 2017, and as a member of the New Zealand Government's Expert Advisory Group on Family Violence in 2013. She was the academic member of the District Court Judges Education Committee in 2015-2017 and was also a member of the Institute of Judicial Studies Curriculum Working Group on Family Violence during that time. She has provided peer review on multiple reports for government and non-government organisationson matters relating to criminal law and family violence over the years.