The implementation of feminist law reforms: The case of post-provocation sentencing
Social and Legal Studies: an international journal
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In 2005 the Australian State of Victoria abolished the controversial partial defence of provocation. Part of the impetus for the reforms was to challenge provocation’s victim-blaming narratives and the defence’s tendency to excuse men’s violence against intimate partners. However, concerns were also expressed that these narratives and excuses would simply reappear at the sentencing stage when men who had killed intimate partners were convicted of murder or manslaughter. This paper analyses post-provocation sentencing judgments, reviewing cases over the 10 year period since the reforms in order to determine whether these concerns have been borne out. The analysis suggests that at the level of sentencing outcomes they have not, although at the level of discourse the picture is more mixed. While sentencing narratives continue to reproduce the language of provocation, at the same time, post-provocation sentencing appears to provide opportunities for feminist judging – picking up on the spirit of the reforms – which have been taken up by some judges more than others.
AuthorsHUNTER, RC; Tyson, D
- Department of Law