Risk Refraction: Thoughts on the Victim-Survivor’s Risk Journey through the Criminal Justice Process


The limits of inter-agency understandings of risk in the context of intimate partner violence are well documented. Informed by Hester’s (2011) ‘three planet’ analogy and using empirical data in one police force area in the south of England, this paper offers an exploration of intra-agency operations, focusing on police risk assessment practices. Exploring the policing risk lens and the victim-survivor journey together, findings highlight police operate with at least three risk assessment moments (call hander, front-line and Safeguarding Hub) and point to the tensions that result when failing to centralise victim-survivors’ own assessment of their risk. Using complexity theory, this paper examines the complex interplay of risk that occurs when the victim-survivor risk journey intersects with the policing aspect of the criminal justice process.

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Published: 2021-09-01
Pages:177 to 190
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How to Cite
Barlow, C., Walklate, S. and Johnson, K. (2021) “Risk Refraction: Thoughts on the Victim-Survivor’s Risk Journey through the Criminal Justice Process ”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 10(3), pp. 177-190. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.1805.

Author Biographies

Lancaster University
 United Kingdom

Dr Charlotte Barlow is a Lecturer in Criminology at Lancaster University

University of Liverpool; Monash University
 United Kingdom

Sandra Walklate is Eleanor Rathbone Chair of Sociology at Liverpool conjoint Chair of Criminology at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. She has worked within the field of victimology since the 1980s and much of her current work in this area is focused on gender-based violence(s) and criminal justice policy responses to this. Her most recent book with Monash colleagues was published by Routledge in 2020 entitled: Counting the Costs: Towards a Global Femicide Index.

Durham University
 United Kingdom

Dr Kelly Johnson is an Assistant Professor in Criminology at Durham University