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Appendix to article titled 'Social Entrapment: A Realistic Understanding of the Criminal Offending of Primary Victims...

17 Nov 2021

The Family Violence Death Review Committee (FVDRC) welcomes publication of the article entitled, Social Entrapment: A Realistic Understanding of the Criminal Offending of Primary Victims of Intimate Partner Violence, in New Zealand Law Review in 2018. We would like to acknowledge the thought leadership of our previous Chair, Professor Julia Tolmie, in shaping this article.

The article suggests that the appropriate conceptual model to use when investigating, presenting and interpreting facts involving intimate partner violence is an understanding of intimate partner violence as a gendered pattern of harm that operates as a form of entrapment. The article explains the concept of entrapment and contrasts it with traditional approaches to thinking about intimate partner violence in the criminal justice context.

The FVDRC developed an appendix to accompany this article. The appendix contains a list of questions that could help lawyers to understand the circumstances of a client who is both the primary victim of intimate partner violence, and facing criminal charges. It is designed to assist lawyers to formulate criminal defences which may be available to their client. These questions may also be useful for prosecutors and experts seeking to make sense of the history of intimate partner violence in a particular case. The appendix should be used alongside the concepts outlined in the article.

FVDRC data shows that between 2009 and 2015 in Aotearoa New Zealand, in 19 percent of intimate partner violence deaths the offender was a female primary victim. These killings had strong defensive features. The women were often responding to threats from men who were capable of seriously hurting them and had already started to assault them. This article makes a strong case for all justice sector officials to understand the context of these women’s lives, so the system can respond to them equitably.

FVDRC is committed to ending family violence in Aotearoa. We believe rethinking primary victims’ actions in light of their lived experience will mean that the system responds to them and their children in an informed way. We hope that professionals use this appendix and this leads to more just practice.

Professor Jane Koziol-McLain
Chair, FVDRC

Published: 17 Nov 2021 Modified: 17 Nov 2021