Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: To Whose Benefit?: Questioning Mandated Criminal Justice Responses to Intimate Partner Violence
Authors: Kimmey, Clarissa
Advisors: Kunzel, Regina
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2016
Abstract: Nearly fifty years after the inception of the “battered women’s movement,” this thesis examines the evolution of legal responses to domestic violence and their impact on both those who experience and those who commit Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). A philosophy of one-size-fitsall mandates has prevailed in the criminal justice system at the expense of procedural justice for defendants and empowerment for victims. Beginning with a historical analysis, this thesis argues that while feminist advocacy indeed included demands for strengthened criminal justice responses to IPV, their requests for legal reform were only within the larger context of societal shifts towards punitive practices. Co-option by governmental sources, facilitated by the political climate of the time and the racial homogeneity of the movement, contributed to the growth of law-and-order responses to IPV. This thesis provides a theoretical framework for reform, relying on survivordefined advocacy and procedural justice protections in order to reconsider legal responses to IPV. Relying on fieldwork and interviews, this thesis then moves to a consideration of two contemporary criminal justice responses to IPV. Drawing from data I collected on 122 arraignments, I will show that criminal orders of protection (COPs) are overly applied, despite the significant burden they cause to defendants. This bloated application has impeded the enforcement of COPs, putting victims at risk of re-abuse. This thesis will provide recommendations for discretionary application of COPs. In the following chapter, I will consider mandatory medical reporting laws, which do not give victims the option of seeking medical treatment without involving law enforcement. For this chapter I conduct a 50 state statutory and regulatory survey and assess the current state of mandatory reporting laws on victims. Drawing on studies of confidentiality in college sexual assault cases and interviews conducted with rape crisis center employees, I argue that mandatory reporting laws may discourage victims from seeking treatment and do not properly incorporate survivors’ voices. I provide recommendations for strengthening medical responses to IPV and improving education on mandatory reporting laws so as to allow for more informed medical and legal decision making by victims. This original research demonstrates that the philosophy of mandates exists more pervasively than most current scholarship indicates and has not facilitated the structural changes early feminists advocated for. This thesis will conclude by using the feminist movement against battered women to create a framework for examining the #BlackLivesMatter movement and critiquing the law-and-order focus that has existed in response to the case of Peter Liang.
Extent: 166 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Woodrow Wilson School, 1929-2016

Files in This Item:
File SizeFormat 
Kimmey_Clarissa.pdf2.81 MBAdobe PDF    Request a copy

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.