The Court’s response to intimate partner sexual violence perpetrators

Anna Carline, Patricia EASTEAL

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Any efforts to change the way IPSV defendants are treated need to recognize that the courts’ responses do not take place in vacuum, but are embedded within the attitudes held by many in the community and by the legacy of legal precedent and past practice. The “license to rape” (the spousal exemption from sexual assault charges), although now abolished in most countries, continues to have a potent impact on the beliefs and actions of the courts and the community (Carline & Easteal, 2014). If you work in the criminal justice system it is useful for you to learn more about why this is so. In this chapter, we will highlight some of the ways that the legacy of the fiction ripples into the courtroom. We provide several examples of how IPSV continues not to be seen as “real rape” and how this affects the legal response to perpetrators. We also include a few recommendations. Some are relevant for those who work in the Courts. Other suggestions are more relevant for readers who are advocates or in positions to work toward law reform and/or policy changes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPerpetrators of Intimate Partner Sexual Violence
Subtitle of host publicationA Multidisciplinary Approach to Prevention, Recognition, and Intervention
EditorsLouise McOrmond-Plummer, Jennifer Y. Levy-Peck, Patricia Easteal
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781315693422
ISBN (Print)9781138910447, 9781138910454
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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