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Revisiting the “Ideal Victim”Developments in Critical Victimology$
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Marian Duggan

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781447338765

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447338765.001.0001

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‘Idealising’ domestic violence victims

‘Idealising’ domestic violence victims

(p.159) Eight ‘Idealising’ domestic violence victims
Revisiting the “Ideal Victim”

Marian Duggan

Policy Press

Domestic violence victimisation has long been a contested issue with regards to ‘idealised’ victims. Socio-political rhetoric often questions ‘why didn’t she leave?’ yet feminist research has long indicated that leaving a violent partner may increase a female victim’s vulnerability to escalated – and fatal – violence. This chapter assesses a relatively new policy designed to safeguard people from domestic abuse. The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, also known as ‘Clare’s Law’ permits members of the public to apply for information from the police about a partner who they have concerns about regarding abusive behaviours. If a disclosure of previous violence is made, the victim must decide whether to remain in or leave the relationship. Elements of this policy are evaluated in line with Christie’s ‘ideal victim’ concept to demonstrate how it may account for greater harms to applicants. In addition, the chapter explores expectations of safeguarding measures and the potential impact on wider victim-blaming discourses linked to domestic violence.

Keywords:   domestic violence, violence prevention, Clare’s Law, risk, ideal victims, Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme

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