Intimacy, Violence and the Law: Gender, Victim-Defendant Relationship and Punishment

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 10:30-12:20
RC12 Sociology of Law (host committee)

Language: Spanish, English and French

Many forms of violence stem from increased risk in the context of intimacy, particularly violence against women and children. At one time, penal laws made no mention of the relationship between a victim and a defendant and the meaning of this relationship in the criminal process. Theoretically, there are reasons to expect the degree of intimacy between victims and defendants will matter in law, but systematic empirical examinations of this hypothesis are few. In 1996, the sentencing principles in the Criminal Code of Canada were amended to stipulate that relationships offenders have (or had) with their victims (e.g. spouse, child) may act as an aggravating factor in determining the punishment for their crime(s). Other countries have also begun to legislate the role of intimacy when responding to violent crime. Symbolically, this suggests that the law now sees intimate partner, domestic or family violence as a serious social and criminal justice issue. Practically, however, there remains a dearth of reliable and systematic data that documents how police, prosecution and the courts are actually responding to these forms of violence on the ground and whether and how intimacy enters into their decision-making when determining punishments for such crimes. This session invites papers that examine the role of intimacy in law’s response to violence at the local, national, and/or international level, particularly as it might relate to  various forms of violence against women and children with specific focus on a critical analysis of legislation and the role of the courts and its actors.
Session Organizers:
Myrna DAWSON, University of Guelph, Canada, Barbara G BELLO, University of Milano, Italy and Alexandrine GUYARD-NEDELEC, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, France
Myrna DAWSON, University of Guelph, Canada
Joao VELLOSO, University of Ottawa, Canada and Jordan FAIRBAIRN, King's University College at Western University, Canada


    Intimacy, Violence and the Law: Roundtable B
    Chair:  Jordan FAIRBAIRN
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