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Themes in Judges' Sentencing Remarks for Male and Female Domestic Murderers

Hall, G., Whittle, M. and Field, C. (2016) Themes in Judges' Sentencing Remarks for Male and Female Domestic Murderers. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 23 (3). pp. 395-412.

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The aim of this study was to analyse judges’ sentencing remarks in cases of domestic murder. In undertaking a qualitative analysis, the methodology of grounded theory was used, and the data emanating from the judges’ sentencing remarks identified several major themes as discussed in this article. Broadly speaking, the data reflect that women are viewed more harshly than men and receive higher sentences. In addition, judges are distancing male offenders from their responsibility for their violent conduct, rendering them potential candidates for more lenient treatment in terms of sentence. The analysis also reveals that judges frequently rely on stereotypes and traditional notions of marriage, family and femininity in determining an offender’s sentence. These assumptions are embedded in the different set of descriptors used by judges to describe male and female offenders.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Law
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Copyright: The Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law
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