Legal change and legal inertia: understanding and contextualising Scottish cases in which women kill their abusers

McPherson, R. (2021) Legal change and legal inertia: understanding and contextualising Scottish cases in which women kill their abusers. Journal of Gender-Based Violence, 5(2), pp. 289-306. (doi: 10.1332/239868021X16099485271900)

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Abstract

Significant legal and policy change related to domestic abuse has been evident in Scotland over the last 40 years. Despite this, no change has occurred in relation to cases in which women kill their abusers. This article maps the significant changes which have occurred in Scotland in relation to domestic abuse, linking these to the development of the Scottish women’s movement and related feminist activism. This landscape is contrasted with the inertia which has become apparent in relation to cases in which women kill their abusers. A detailed examination of the Scottish landscape is presented which includes in-depth qualitative analysis of 62 cases of this type. Although the problems inherent to effecting change for women who kill their abusers are recognised, this article proposes several practical changes which could be implemented to bridge the knowledge gap which has emerged in Scotland. This call to action comes at the time when the Scottish Law Commission are considering homicide and defences to murder, making it a crucial time to consider the Scottish landscape in relation to this aspect of domestic abuse.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McPherson, Dr Rachel
Authors: McPherson, R.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Journal Name:Journal of Gender-Based Violence
Publisher:Policy Press
ISSN:2398-6808
ISSN (Online):2398-6816
Published Online:25 January 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 Centre for Gender and Violence Research
First Published:First published in Journal of Gender-Based Violence 5(2): 289-306
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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