Gender-Based Violence, Law Reform, and the Criminalization of Survivors of Violence


Criminalization is the primary societal response to intimate partner violence in the US. This reliance on criminal legal system interventions ignores several unintended consequences. One of the serious unintended consequences of criminalization — perhaps the most serious unintended consequence — has been the increased rates of arrest, prosecution, conviction, and incarceration of those whom criminalization was meant to protect: victims of intimate partner violence. Criminalized survivors follow a variety of pathways into the carceral system, which fails to recognize their status as victims of violence and punishes them for failure to conform to victim stereotypes as well as for their acts.

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Except where otherwise noted, content in this journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Published: 2021-12-01
Pages:13 to 25
Section:Special Issue: Criminalisation and the Violence(s) of the State
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How to Cite
Goodmark, L. (2021) “Gender-Based Violence, Law Reform, and the Criminalization of Survivors of Violence”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 10(4), pp. 13-25. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.1994.

Author Biography

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
 United States

Leigh Goodmark (pronouns: she/her/hers) is the Marjorie Cook Professor of Law and co-director of the Clinical Law Program at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, where she directs the Gender Violence Clinic.  She is the author of Decriminalizing Domestic Violence: A Balanced Policy Approach to Intimate Partner Violence and A Troubled Marriage: Domestic Violence and the Legal System and the co-editor of Comparative Perspectives on Gender Violence: Lessons from Efforts Worldwide.