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Criminal Justice System - Lecture #7

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Social Science
SOSC 2652
Anna Pratt

CRIM – CJS LECTURE – Discretion and the Policing of Wife Assault October 18 , 2012 Introduction: - The police make policy about what law to enforce, how much to enforce it, against whom, and on what occasions. – Kenneth Culp Davis, 1975 What’s in a Name? - Different focus and policy implications:  Family violence, Domestic violence  Intimate partner violence, partner abuse  Wife assault, wife battery, wife abuse - Tends to be a pattern in abuse – surrounds it - Family violence – child, spouse, elder abuse The Pro-Charge Policing Policy in Cases of Wife Assault - 1982, Directive from Federal Solicitor General  Pro-charge policing and no drop prosecution - 1994, Ontario Solicitor General Guidelines  Officers required to lay charges when there are reasonable grounds to believe than an assault has taken place - 1994, Ontario Policing Standards Manual  Charging decision should not be influenced by victim’s preferences or the officer’s concern about reprisal violence - None of these are fully binding because discretion still exists The Scope of the Problem of Wife Assault (Canada) - Statistics are not reliable – large percent is not reported  Study victimization study instead: - 1993 Statistics Canada Violence Against Women Victimization Survey  Most rigorous and comprehensive study to date - Violence Against Women – in general  51%of all Canadian women over 18 have suffered from some form of physical or sexual assault in their lifetime  45% of all women have been victimized by men known to them  23% have experienced violence by a stranger - Bias, unreliable data:  May have used male interviewee - Physical attack: anything from face to face confrontation to physical harm - Sexual Assault: any sexual contact - Wife Assault:  29% have been assaulted by a spouse/ live in partner - Kinds of Violence:  Pushing, grabbing, shoving  Hitting, slapping, hit by thrown objects  Kicking, biting, hit with fists  Seriously beaten up, choked, sexually assaulted, gun or knife used - Frequency of Violence: reoccurring - Seriousness of Violence:  53% Seriously assaulted  33% Fear for their lives  44% Weapon involved  16% Gun/knife actually used - Risk Factors:  Common law, 18-24yrs, new relationships, pregnancy (do not get enough attention from spouse – jealousy), separation (during/after), alcohol, abuser witnessed violence by father  Most partners killed esp. when they are trying to leave their partners  A man is twice as likely to commit violent crimes if they witnessed violence from their father  large percent that have witnessed it however, do not  Statistics do not tell us everything - Under/ Non-reporting:  26% of all victims of wife assaults reported the incident to police  60% of victims of serious violence called the police  45% of women who feared for their lives did NOT call the police  women usually suffer between 10-20 episodes of violence before calling police - Other Factors:  Immigrant women more vulnerable to wife assault  2009: 67 women murdered by current/former spouse  3000 women,2500 children in shelters on any given day  Each year, over 40,000 arrests result from domestic violence, about 12% of all violent crimes in Canada  Rates of wife assault have declined  Victims now less likely to report an incident to police  More women are experiencing violence after they leave their abuser  Mandatory charge/ arrest Wife Assault as a Social Problem - Numbers - Gendered Crime  Women against men violence – not a social problem, more of an individual problem (differs with the cases) - Connected to other forms of violence against women and to non-violent aspects of gender subordination  Men tends to initiate violence, women are violent as a respond to self-defence - Historical and Cultural Dimension Historical Overview of Criminal Justice Responses/ Reforms to Wife Assault - 19 Century and ‘lawful correction’  The idea that a man’s home is private, he is the sovereign of the home  allows him to beat the wife th - Early 20 C. and family courts
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