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Motivating Questions and Partial Answers: A Response to Prosecuting Domestic Violence by Michelle Madden Dempse

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    Rights statement: Cowan, S. 2012 In : Criminal Law and Philosophy. The final publication is available at link.springer.com

    Accepted author manuscript, 249 KB, PDF document

Original languageEnglish
JournalCriminal Law and Philosophy
Publication statusPublished - 2012


Michelle Madden Dempsey’s compelling book sets out a normative feminist argument as to why and when prosecutors should continue to pursue prosecutions in domestic violence cases where the victim refuses to participate in or has withdrawn their support for the prosecution. This paper will explore two of the key aspects of her argument—the centrality and definition of the concept of patriarchy, and the definition of domestic violence—before concluding with some final thoughts as to the appropriate parameters of feminist prosecutorial decision-making. The paper argues that Madden Dempsey could offer a more detailed and nuanced argument about the role that patriarchy plays, particularly its relevance in marking out appropriate cases for pursuit; and that her thesis requires a more convincing exposition of the precise reasons for offering such a narrow account of domestic violence.

    Research areas

  • Domestic violence, Patriarchy, Prosecution, Victim participation, Domestic abuse

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