Revictimisation by the Courts? Women Who Kill Violent Male Partners in Australia
Criminal Law Specialists Conference, CLE Department of the College of Law, Sydney, pp. 159-182
Posted: 22 Nov 2009 Last revised: 20 Jun 2018
Date Written: 1995
This paper examines what happens to some women who live in a domestic violence situation, how killing the batterer may become their only option, and what has been the outcome for them in the Australian courts. The latter is contrasted with the US discussing how the type of pleas, the dispositions and the sentences appear to differ between the two countries. The author reviews the sentences and sentencing remarks in a sample of cases around Australia and finds that although there is heterogeneity across jurisdictions, there is a fairly universal lack of general comprehension about the gravity and criminality of domestic violence. Consequently without expert witnesses reasonable behavior in self-defense and provocation continue to be defined in traditional male terms. The article concludes with a variety of suggestions for how reasonable should be reinterpreted and for other legal reform.
Keywords: domestic violence
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