FVDRC develops resources for lawyers working with IPV victims facing criminal charges

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The Family Violence Death Review Committee (FVDRC) has published information to assist lawyers working with victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) who are facing criminal charges.

The document is an appendix to a recent article in the New Zealand Law Review, Social Entrapment: A Realistic Understanding of the Criminal Offending of Primary Victims of Intimate Partner Violence (Tolmie et al 2018). 

The articles describes IPV as a gendered pattern of harm that is a form of social entrapment. The understanding of entrapment is contrasted with traditional approaches to thinking about intimate partner violence in the criminal justice context. The article explores how this model can apply to cases when mothers are prosecuted for failing to protect their children, or when women are prosecuted for killing the person who has been violent towards them.

The FVDRC published an Appendix to the Social Entrapment article to assist lawyers to develop criminal defences for clients who are the primary victim of IPV and facing criminal charges. The Appendix provides a detailed list of questions to help lawyers think through areas that affect the context of the IPV and women's responses. The questions are not necessarily designed to be asked of the victim or to act as a checklist. They are designed to help lawyers develop a comprehensive picture of a woman's experience and the factors that should be considered.

The questions cover the following areas:

  • relationship formation
  • primary aggressor's coercive controlling behaviours
  • parenting
  • primary aggressor's lifestyle
  • primary victim's offending
  • primary victim's trauma history
  • primary victim's mental health
  • quality of agency responses
  • structural inequities.

The Appendix includes multiple examples from the family violence regional death review process to illustrate the kinds of information that can be relevant. There are also suggestions of potential sources of information relating to the context of IPV. The Appendix should be used alongside the concepts outlined in the article.

More information

In 2017, FVDRC published a position brief on the need to address intimate partner violence and child abuse and neglect together. The one-page brief sets out Six reasons we cannot be effective in reducing intimate partner violence or child abuse and neglect unless we address both together.

For more background information see our previous news story on the FVDRC position brief.

Related media

Work remains to reduce impacts of homicide: Victim Support, Press Release: Victim Support, Scoop, 27.09.2018