From 'a Man's Castle to a Women's Refuge': Changing Police Attitudes to Domestic Violence

Christine Jennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract: Home is a concept which can invoke warm feelings of security for many people but ambiguous feelings for others and even distinct unease for some. One of the reasons for ambiguity or unease is domestic violence. Social attitudes to domestic violence have gradually but substantially altered over the last fifty years. Changing policing practices reflect these attitudinal changes and police play a crucial role in ensuring that the rights of the battered are upheld. However, this is not a straightforward process. Police themselves are drawn from the general community and have diverse attitudes to state interference in the private domain.3 Survivors of domestic violence can be uncooperative with police efforts to bring perpetrators to court to take responsibility for their actions, for a variety of reasons, including their calculation of the likely effects of taking this path on their own survival and the welfare of their children. Often their key priority is to get the immediate violent incident to stop and/or find somewhere safe to reside. In this paper I reflect on the insights provided by participants in interviews and focus groups conducted with police and non-police domestic violence service workers, in the late 1990s in New South Wales, about what the problems are for victims/survivors and what characteristics are displayed by police who are helpful in such situations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-44
Number of pages16
JournalISAA review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


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