What Is Intimate Partner Homicide Represented to be?: A Poststructural Analysis of Recent Court Judgments in NSW, Australia.

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Susan GOODWIN, Sydney University, Australia
Bethany WILKINSON, University of Sydney, Australia
Court judgements about men who are charged with killing their current or former intimate partner provide important insight into how women, men, intimate relationships, violence, homicide and legal responses are conceptualized in the legal arena, and in society more generally. This paper draws on analyses recent court judgements (between 2010 and 2016) in the state of NSW, Australia, where women were killed in the context of intimate partner violence. The analysis of the judgements was undertaken using Bacchi’s (2009) ‘What’s the problem represented to be?’ (WPR) approach, a form of poststructural policy analysis (Bacchi and Goodwin, 2016). This approach has been used by other researchers explore how policies constitute the ‘problem’ of violence against women, and is used here to scrutinize the taken-for-granted representations of intimate partner homicide in court judgments. The paper demonstrates that deeply held assumptions and presuppositions about what intimate partner violence is; what intimate relationships are; and who is responsible for perpetrating and preventing intimate partner homicide can be found within the texts of the court judgements. The analysis also demonstrates that there are alternative ways of thinking about violence, intimate relationships, and prevention and protection. Thinking through these alternatives could potentially radically alter the law’s response to violence.