CCJ-2007-Domestic and Family Violence Essay – Law Assignment Help

Assignment Task


Question: Domestic and Family Violence

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The recent horrific murder of Hannah Baxter and her children in Queensland have brought the problem of domestic and family violence (DFV) once again into the forefront of media and policy attention. One outcome of this has been visible public and policy debate on the causes of DFV, and the characteristics of offenders. In particular, this debate has most recently turned toward the question of whether DFV is an “offender problem” or a “gender problem” – for example in the recent federal parliamentary hearings into Australia’s family law system. These debates centre on the question of whether or not DFV is an offense that is more generally or evenly distributed between male and female offenders (often referred to as gender neutral or gender asymmetrical in the literature), or whether it is an offense that tends to be gendered, with men being the predominant offenders and with more serious harms to victims in their offending.

Write an essay that addresses the following underlined questions:

1. How is domestic and family violence currently understood and defined in existing research and literature? – Here you should pay attention not only to existing legal definitions, but also research and policy that takes into account non-physical definitions of domestic and family violence including emotional, physiological, and economic or monetary forms of abuse.

2. Drawing from existing literature, research, and available data, summarize existing evidence and current knowledge on:

a. The prevalence of offending by male and female DFV offenders – i.e. what does literature, data, and research suggest about the overall prevalence of DFV offenses by men and women?

b. The frequency and severity of offending by male and female domestic and family violence offenders – i.e. what does literature, data, and research suggest about
 the frequency (how often for individual offenders) and severity (i.e. how serious in terms of physical and non-physical harms) of DFV offending by men and women.

c. Research on the context of domestic and family violence offending – i.e. what does existing literature, data, and research suggest about the social context or situations of offending by men and women? For example, is the violence perpetrated by men and women occurring against a backdrop of self-protection (i.e. defensive violence), or as part of an ongoing pattern of abuse within intimate relationships? Are these the same for male and female offenders, or different?

3. Following on your analysis above, make an argument as to whether or not DFV should  more rightly be characterised as an offending problem (i.e. more gender neutral or gender asymmetrical) or as a gendered problem (i.e. men being the predominant offenders).  Please make sure to support your argument with sufficient reference to existing literature, research, and data from Question 2 above.

4. Finally, following on your analysis and argument above, which theoretical perspective or perspectives best explain domestic violence? Here you are free to draw from any existing criminological or sociological theories, not just those we cover in class. However, your use of theory should fit as closely as possible with your summary of existing research and data. 

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