Prosecuting Domestic Violence

Prosecuting Domestic Violence : A Philosophical Analysis


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What should public prosecutors do when victims withdraw support for domestic violence prosecutions? The answer to this question that motivates the investigation undertaken in this book defends the claim that (other things being equal) domestic violence prosecutors should respond as feminists. This claim is intended as a provocative formulation of the proposition that domestic violence prosecutors should act for reasons generated by the value of reconstituting communities as less patriarchal. This thesis is defended first by developing a general theory of prosecutorial practical reasoning, and then by considering the prosecution of domestic violence offences in particular. Along the way, this book provides an original account of the nature of prosecutorial action, the values that can be realised through such action, and the relationship between these values and the practical reasoning of criminal prosecutors. Moreover, it provides original analyses of two key concepts, domestic violence and patriarchy, and explains the relevance of the latter to a proper understanding of the former. These insights are put to work in answering the motivating question stated above, and provide answers both in terms of what prosecutors would be justified in doing, and what prosecutors should do in order to be effective

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Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 156 x 236 x 24mm | 557.92g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • black & white illustrations, black & white tables, figures
  • 0199562164
  • 9780199562169
  • 1,380,021

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Review quote

Michelle Madden Dempseys excellent book does not provide a step-by-step prosecuting domestic violence handbook for prosecutors, but what it does offer is a normative argument addressing some of the pressing issues that feminists and others have struggled to agree on with respect to prosecuting domestic violence cases. Sharon Cowan, Criminal Law and Philosophy Dempsey has tackled an important issue, both because of the critical questions it poses for criminal justice policy and feminist theory and because of the incidence of domestic violence cases with reluctant victims. Kit Kinports, Criminal Law and Philosophy Madden Dempsey's compelling book boldly ventures into the relatively unchartered water of normative analysis of prosecutorial practice, engaging along the way with many of the on-going feminist (and other) debates around how best to address the problem of domestic violence, and offering both practical expertise and thoughtful theoretical arguments to ground her recommendations for improving the ways in which prosecutors deal with domestic violence cases that lack victim support. Madden Dempsey's book is both innovative and absorbing and will prompt many to take more seriously the question of how to prosecute domestic violence, in order to promote a more just outcome for victims and a more feminist state. Sharon Cowan, Criminal Law and Philosophy This book is a valuable addition to the domestic violence literature and undoubtedly adds a fresh dimension to what has hitherto been a somewhat narrow debate about what constitutes an 'effective' domestic violence prosecution. Mandy Burton, University of Leicester, International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family 24(1)

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About Michelle Madden Dempsey

Michelle Madden Dempsey, D.Phil (Oxon, 2007), LL.M. (Dist., LSE, 2002), J.D. (Michigan, 1996), B.A. (Philosophy, Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1994), is a CUF lecturer and tutorial fellow at Worcester college, where she teaches criminal law and jurisprudence. Formerly, she was a tutor in law at University College London and an Adjunct Professor of Law at DePaul College of Law in Chicago. Before that, Michelle served as a domestic violence criminal prosecutor and a civil trial lawyer in the U.S.

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