It's Complicated: Privacy and Domestic Violence

44 Pages Posted: 29 May 2012

Date Written: 2012


This Article challenges the notion that there is no role for privacy in the domestic violence context. Privacy is a complicated concept that has both positive and negative aspects, and this Article examines the value that more privacy could provide for domestic violence victims. While privacy was historically used as a shield for batterers, more privacy for domestic violence victims could protect their personhood, ensuring that they are treated with dignity and respect. In addition, current mandatory criminal justice policies have become so intrusive in many victims’ lives that limitations are needed to prevent the threat of state abuse. These protections are particularly important for poor victims and victims of color who are more vulnerable to such abuses. In many cases, a domestic violence victim’s choice not to pursue the arrest and prosecution of her batterer should be respected by state authorities. In addition, no victim should be required to cooperate as a witness against her batterer.

Keywords: Privacy, Domestic Violence, Criminal Justice System, Mandatory Policies, Feminism

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Bailey, Kimberly, It's Complicated: Privacy and Domestic Violence (2012). American Criminal Law Review, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Kimberly Bailey (Contact Author)

Chicago-Kent College of Law ( email )

565 West Adams St.
Chicago, IL 60661
United States

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