This book examines the factors which shape the criminal justice response to domestic violence in the light of policy changes at the beginning of the 1990s which aimed to increase arrest rates. In particular, the book discusses the needs and expectations of victims and examines how their choices impact on decisions made by police and prosecutors. Many books on the criminal justice response to domestic violence start from the premise that withdrawal of complaints by victims and the subsequent discontinuance of cases, represents some kind of failure on the part of the agencies involved and that victims would benefit from greater determination by police to prosecute offenders wherever possible. Implicit in this approach is the assumption that the criminal justice system as it presently operates is capable of responding effectively to the needs of victims of domestic violence. This book throws doubt on the validity of these assumptions.
Carolyn Hoyle is a lecturer in criminology at the University of Oxford.