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Intimate Partner Homicide: Themes in Judges’ Sentencing Remarks

Whittle, M. and Hall, G. (2018) Intimate Partner Homicide: Themes in Judges’ Sentencing Remarks. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 25 (6). pp. 922-943.

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The aim of this study was to analyse judges’ sentencing remarks in cases of intimate partner homicide. Grounded theory methodology was used to undertake a qualitative analysis of the remarks, and the emanating data identified four key themes, as discussed in this article. These themes are: the sentencing of Aboriginal offenders; offender violence; the use of alcohol and/or drugs; and provocation. Broadly speaking, the data reflect that judges’ sentencing remarks echo themes of offenders’ denial of responsibility, thereby minimising harm and justifying violence against females. Also, judges fail to attribute a sufficient degree of responsibility to offenders for their voluntary consumption of alcohol or drugs and their subsequent violent behaviour. The study also found that, as a defence, provocation continues to favour males as the main beneficiaries. The study provides quantitative data which show that Aboriginal males are sanctioned less harshly than non-Aboriginal males.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Law
Publisher: Routledge
Copyright: © 2018 The Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law
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