Inclusive Approaches to Investigating the Victims of Femicide

Friday, 20 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Emma BUXTON-NAMISNYK, University of Oxford, United Kingdom, Domestic Violence Death Review Team, NSW, Sydney, Australia
Rachel CONDRY, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
This paper draws upon current research conducted by the authors using domestic homicide reviews and other sources of homicide data in Australia and the UK. The paper considers what we know about the state response to victims of femicide, focusing on two particular categories of victim that tend to receive less attention: those killed by their own children, and those from Indigenous populations. In the drive to recognise and respond effectively to domestic violence, state responses tend to focus on the largest and most visible category of victims, women killed by intimate partners. This approach can be homogenising, painting a very particular picture about the nature of female victimisation, and can neglect the specificities of victim histories, cultural context, characteristics, and kin relationships. Victims of domestic homicide are not a homogenous group and blanket responses miss opportunities for specifically tailored risk assessment and effective prevention, investigation, and prosecution. This paper considers how particular social processes, structures, and relations fuel the neglect of, or indifference to, certain categories of victim, including the construction of kin relationships and the neglect of filial violence in all its forms, and also highlights the importance of taking into account intersectional considerations in studies of femicide. The authors reflect on their attempts to design research projects investigating domestic homicide that are sensitive to familial and cultural context, that are inclusive in approach, and that give primacy to the voices of those affected by it.