Heather Douglas

Jul 1, 2021

Women, Intimate Partner Violence, and the Law

Oxford University Press 2021

Every year, millions of women turn to law to help them escape intimate partner violence. The legal processes are complex and varied, often enmeshing women for many years. In Intimate Partner Violence and the Law, published by Oxford University Press in 2021, Professor Heather Douglas examines intimate partner violence, including nonphysical coercive control, and shows how women's interactions with the law and legal processes can support or exacerbate their experiences and their abilities to leave an abusive partner. Over a period of three years, Douglas conducted a series of interviews to understand how women engage with criminal, family, and civil courts. The women's stories show how abusers can use the law to further perpetuate abuse. Despite the heightened danger that leaving an abusive partner can represent, the book showcases the level of endurance, resilience and patience that it takes women when they seek protection through law for themselves and their children. Reading the first-hand experiences of women and the impact on them from their interactions with police, lawyers, judges, and child protective services is extremely moving and illuminating. The book is profoundly important in understanding the need for reform to protect women and their children from intimate partner violence. Douglas shows how the legal system operates in practice, and the gap in protection for women and their children as to how it should work. 

Professor Heather Douglas is a Professor of Law at the Melbourne Law School at The University of Melbourne and Honorary Professor at the School of Law at The University of Queensland. She has worked on the legal response to intimate partner violence for over twenty years, both as a practitioner and an academic. 

Jane Richards is a doctoral student at the University of Hong Kong. You can find her on twitter where she follows all things related to human rights and Hong Kong politics @JaneRichardsHK

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Jane Richards is a doctoral student at the University of Hong Kong. You can find her on twitter where she follows all things related to human rights and Hong Kong politics @JaneRichardsHK

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