Chair: Marianne Hester
Criminal Justice, Inequality and Gender based Violence
Author: Hester Marianne, University of Bristol
Duncan MPhee, University of West of England; Sarah-Jane Walker, University of Bristol
Title: The Justice, Inequality and Gbv Research Project
The paper provides an introduction to the recently completed large scale research project in the UK, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, which aimed to explore how 'justice' is understood, sought, and experienced by victims/survivors of gender based violence and practitioners. The other papers in this session are also based on this research. The research used a range of quantitative and qualitative methods, involving police data on 1500 rape and domestic abuse cases, interviews with 251 victim/survivors and 40 practitioners. UK research has consistently shown a justice gap in relation to domestic and sexual violence, forced marriage, and 'honour based violence'. The concept of a 'justice gap' is not well understood. For instance, victims/survivors of gender-based violence make decisions about accessing criminal justice and other justice systems, that can appear 'irrational' and be difficult for practitioners to understand but are linked to GBV experiences and the intersecting inequalities victims/survivors may inhabit. This paper focuses on findings from the police data analysis, in particular the differential experiences and trajectories of rape and domestic abuse victims who are situated by mental health, age, gender and/ or other inequalities and vulnerabilities, and looks at the implications for policing and victim's experiences of criminal justice.
Keywords: rape, domestic abuse, police data, criminal justice trajectories
Author: Williamson Emma, University of Bristol
Title: Victim/Survivors Perspectives on Justice.
This paper presents data from interviews with 251 victims/survivors of Gender Based Violence (GBV), looking at their views and experiences of what justice, in relation to GBV, looks like. One of the key themes which emerged related to ‘recognition’: by perpetrators, those in authority, families and community, and in some cases by God. Also prevalent was the importance of fairness within the justice process and in terms of outcomes. This included fairness and equality in terms of benefits and harms, child access arrangements, material distribution, and in terms of power. Victims/survivors also talked about protection of future harm being important and referred to both punishment and rehabilitation in terms of potentially positive outcomes as well as barriers to accessing justice. Victims/survivors considered justice in different ways depending on where they were in their own journey’s regarding the criminal or other justice systems. For example, some might want recognition when criminal outcomes had not been effective. Victims/survivors also talked about empowerment, and the ability to move on from their experiences as part of their thinking around justice. This included recognising inequalities in society and thus the criminal justice system, and a desire for social transformation which protects those currently experiencing gendered abuse.
Keywords: victims & survivors, gender based violence, recognistion and empowerment
Author: Bates Lis, University of Bristol
Title: Protective Orders, Gender Based Violence and Criminal Justice
Our literature searches highlighted a real gap in existing literature, both theoretical and empirical, on the use of protective orders in the UK in cases of gender based violence. Whilst successive Governments have legislated for a range of orders (relating to domestic abuse and forced marriage), and there has been an increasing criminalisation of previously civil orders including criminalisation of breaches, and police led ‘barring orders’. It is important to understand both how victims use and experience such orders and also how the police (and other criminal justice agencies) are using them, but there has been little previous research regarding this in the UK. There is some international/European evidence, but this tends to focus either on legal implementation and processes, and/or on evaluations of specific orders. This paper draws on the quantitative analysis of police data and interviews with victim/survivors in the wider project. We found a lack of data/information on civil protection orders in police records, indicating that the police may not be taking action against breaches of such orders. Our findings also indicate that the criminal justice system may be increasingly using other measures to protect victims, rather than pursuing criminal offences, such as police bail with conditions, and restraining and harassment orders on conviction or acquittal from criminal charge.
Keywords: protection orders, gender based violence, police
Author: Mulvihill Natasha, University of Bristol
Nadia Aghtaie, University of Bristol; Hilary Abrhams, University of Bristol
Title: Exploring the Role of Faith in Influencing What ‘Justice’ Means for Victims/Survivors of Gender-Based Violence
This paper presents the findings from one strand of the work: drawing on interviews with victims/survivors and professinals to explore how justice is mediated through religious based arbitration and how faith may influence personal and institutional conceptions of justice and affect decision-making regading use of criminal justice. The paper considers the role of Sharia Councils in arbitrating cases of intimate partner violence , and consider the experiences of victims/survivors, and those working with victims/survivors, within the Catholic church and within the Jewish community. The paper looks at the strengths and limitations of faith-based responses and how they might, for some victims/survivors of gender based violence, offer an alternative vocabulary and approch to experiencing and articulating 'justice'. We explore the intersection of gender with culture/religion, rights and community and notions such as honour.
Keywords: • Gender-based violence • Justice • Faith • Victims/survivors