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Posted: September 6th, 2023

Theories of the nature and prevalence of domestic abuse

● Critically analyse theories of the nature and prevalence of domestic abuse.
● Critically analyse the response to domestic abuse by statutory agencies and the third sector and evaluate areas of reform.
● Identify risks and issues faced by victims of domestic abuse (Formative Assessment).
● Evaluate appropriate responses to specific types of abuse (Formative Assessment)

A written 3,500 word essay. Students are given the opportunity to develop learner autonomy and decision making by choosing their essay question and areas for discussion. The learning outcomes will be explained to the students as well as ideas for essay topics, but the students have the freedom to choose their own demographic of victims and agencies to discuss.
Students needs to demonstrate an understanding of the nature and prevalence of DV within their chosen demographic, and a critical analysis of agency responses to this particular demographic(s). There is a ‘TAP Model’ under Study Materials that can assist students when developing their own question. In addition, students can find further information and guidance in the Assessments tab.
Question template:
‘A Critical Analysis of [“insert agency name”]’s Response to [“insert victim demographic] Victims of [“insert type of abuse”] Abuse.’

Potential Ideas/Examples of the Assignment Topics:
1. The English Legal System and Domestic Abuse – A Critical Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the Legal Response to Victims of Domestic Abuse
1. Domestic Abuse and Battered Woman Syndrome – The Psychology of Abuse and Agency Response: A Critical Appraisal (Victim Perspective)
1. Perpetrator Programmes – The Psychology of Abuse: Perpetrator Perspective OR Perpetrator Programmes: A Critique of ‘What Works?’
1. Domestic Abuse and Ethnic Minorities – The Impact of Honour-Based Violence and the CJS Response: A Critical Review
1. Domestic Abuse and Gender – “Domestic abuse requires a ‘gendered’ response”. Critically discuss.
1. Female Genital Mutilation – A Critical Evaluation of the Criminal Justice Systems Response to FGM within the UK.
1. Domestic Abuse on Children – The Effects of Domestic Abuse on Children: A Critical Review
1. The Law regarding Women who Kill – A Critical Examination of Gender Perspectives when Responding to Domestic Homicides.
1. Male Victims of Domestic Abuse – A Critical Analysis of Responses to Men who Experience Domestic Abuse.
1. Negotiated Alternative.
Additional Information
● For the summative essay do not exceed the word limit by more than 10% either way.
● Remember that detailed Harvard referencing is needed throughout the essay in the form of in-text citations. A full list of the references used and cited within the essay must be included at the end of your essay.
● Please ensure that you support all of your arguments with references.
● Please ensure your references are from credible academic sources.
● Please check the reading suggestions in the module handbook, the week’s reading list and remember to use academic journal articles as well as books.
● Read as much as possible around the question you plan to answer (not just the lecture notes!) Don’t restrict yourself to the main textbooks.
There is a minimum quota for the summative coursework (CW2) of ten (N=10) references of which six or more should be academic journals and four should be academic (university presses) or reputable professional books or chapters of such books (Springer, Routledge, etc).
The above quota represents the minimum of what is needed to meet the core requirements for critical analysis and academic quality. Nevertheless, participants are encouraged to read more widely and to cite and reference research, policy, and public information from other (not necessarily academic) suppliers of information.
All coursework needs to use Harvard citation and referencing,

Sample Essay Writing Guide
Domestic abuse is a pervasive issue that affects individuals across different age groups, genders, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Although domestic abuse has gained significant attention in recent years, its prevalence remains high, and effective responses are yet to be achieved. The purpose of this essay is to critically analyze the response of statutory agencies and third sector organizations to specific demographic groups affected by domestic abuse. In doing so, the essay will evaluate areas for reform and appropriate responses to different types of abuse.

Question: A Critical Analysis of the UK Criminal Justice System’s Response to Female Victims of Domestic Homicide

Domestic homicide is a severe form of domestic abuse that can lead to fatal consequences. Female victims are more likely to be killed by their current or former intimate partners, and the criminal justice system’s response to this issue has been widely criticized. This essay will critically analyze the UK criminal justice system’s response to female victims of domestic homicide, highlighting its strengths and weaknesses.

Nature and Prevalence of Domestic Homicide

Domestic homicide is defined as the killing of a person by their current or former intimate partner or family member. In the UK, approximately 2 women are killed by their partners or ex-partners every week, and domestic homicide accounts for approximately 30% of all homicides in England and Wales (ONS, 2020). Female victims are more likely to be killed by their partners than male victims, and the risk of domestic homicide increases when the victim tries to leave the relationship (Kelly et al., 2020).

Response of the UK Criminal Justice System to Domestic Homicide

The UK criminal justice system’s response to domestic homicide involves a range of statutory agencies, including the police, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), and the courts. The police are usually the first point of contact for victims of domestic abuse, and their response can significantly impact the victim’s safety and access to justice. The police response to domestic abuse has been widely criticized for its inconsistent approach and failure to recognize the severity of the issue (HMICFRS, 2020).

Once a domestic homicide has occurred, the CPS is responsible for prosecuting the offender. The CPS has guidelines for prosecuting domestic violence cases, which aim to increase the likelihood of successful prosecutions. However, these guidelines have also been criticized for their failure to consider the victim’s experiences and safety (Kelly et al., 2020).

The courts are responsible for sentencing offenders who have been found guilty of domestic homicide. In recent years, there has been an increasing focus on imposing harsher sentences for domestic homicide offences. However, there are concerns that the current sentencing guidelines do not adequately consider the complexities of domestic abuse and its impact on victims (HMICFRS, 2020).

Evaluation of the UK Criminal Justice System’s Response

The UK criminal justice system’s response to domestic homicide has several strengths, including the development of specific guidelines for prosecuting domestic violence cases and an increasing focus on imposing harsher sentences for domestic homicide offenders. However, there are also several weaknesses in the response, including the inconsistent approach of the police, failure to recognize the severity of the issue, and lack of consideration of the victim’s experiences and safety by the CPS guidelines.

Areas for Reform

To improve the response of the UK criminal justice system to domestic homicide, several reforms are necessary. Firstly, there is a need for consistent training for police officers to recognize and respond to domestic abuse appropriately. Secondly, the CPS guidelines need to be revised to ensure that they consider the victim’s experiences and safety when prosecuting domestic violence cases. Thirdly, the courts need to consider the complexities of domestic abuse when sentencing domestic homicide offenders.

The response of the UK criminal justice system to female victims of domestic homicide has both strengths and weaknesses. While there have been some improvements in recent years,

Kelly, L., Westmarland, N., & Alderson, S. (2020). Understanding domestic homicide. Bristol: Policy Press.

Office for National Statistics. (2020). Domestic abuse in England and Wales overview: November 2020. Retrieved from

Westmarland, N., & Kelly, L. (2021). Domestic homicide review reports in England and Wales: A thematic analysis. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 36(1-2), 122-144.

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