Domestic Homicide: The Continuing Search for Justice

29 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2016 Last revised: 24 Feb 2017

Date Written: January 30, 2017


Domestic homicides include killing an intimate or that person’s romantic partner out of jealous rage, and killing a batterer out of fear and despair. How the criminal law treats these different kinds of domestic homicides continues to challenge our sense of justice. In this Article, I first address the injustice that the partial defense of provocation for domestic homicides currently presents. I then discuss why eliminating or modifying the defense will continue to be problematic so long as mandatory sentencing persists. I next turn to the recent developments in Australian states, where experimentation in this area continues. I describe and analyze Australia’s continuing debate over how the criminal law should respond to different kinds of domestic homicides. Finally, I examine the most recent sweeping change to American criminal defense law: Stand Your Ground/Castle laws such as Florida’s. I suggest that American lawmakers should consider enacting a modified version of a recent Australian provision by amending the modern Castle laws to provide a presumption of self-defense for domestic violence survivors who kill their batterers in their homes or vehicles.

Keywords: domestic homicide, provocation, domestic violence, criminal defenses, stand your ground

Suggested Citation

Forell, Caroline Anne, Domestic Homicide: The Continuing Search for Justice (January 30, 2017). American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Caroline Anne Forell (Contact Author)

University of Oregon - School of Law ( email )

1515 Agate Street
Eugene, OR Oregon 97403
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics