Module code: LAW2091

Module provider

School of Law

Module Leader

HAMILTON M Dr (Schl of Law)

Number of Credits


ECT Credits



FHEQ Level 5

JACs code


Module cap (Maximum number of students)


Module Availability

Semester 2

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 120

Lecture Hours: 24

Tutorial Hours: 6

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework FINAL 3000 WORD COURSEWORK 80
Practical based assessment GROUP/INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATION 20

Alternative Assessment


Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module overview

This module is interdisciplinary in nature, tracing the private and public conceptualisations of domestic violence through changing political, economic, and legal cultures. Domestic violence has until recently been a largely neglected area of criminal justice research and policy. Yet the last few decades have witnessed significant changes in the attention that politicians and criminal justice officials give toward modifying existing legal structures and crafting new policies designed to address the unique nature of domestic violence offending and victimisation. The module covers victimisation and perpetration, laws and policies, and criminal justice responses regarding domestic violence. Domestic violence in the United Kingdom is a focus, yet comparative contexts across the globe are considered as well.

Module aims

Help students develop skills in analysis, communication, and debate.

Provide an overview of the nature and forms that domestic abuse can take, such as physical, sexual, economic, emotional, psychological, and pet abuse.

Introduce various relationship categories underlying domestic violence, such as intimate partner abuse, dating abuse, child abuse, and elder abuse.

Assess the impacts that domestic violence can have on individual victims, their families, and communities.

Explore cases and controversies in historical and contemporary societies regarding domestic violence.

Provide an historical overview of informal and formal social control tools employed (or not) to combat domestic violence.

Explore the key theoretical explanations for victimisation and perpetration of domestic violence offenses.

Draw theoretical insights from the academic domains of criminology, victimology, psychology, sociology, and legal studies.

Examine the responses of police, prosecutors, and judges to domestic violence cases.

Consider the effectiveness of domestic violence policies and laws.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
Demonstrate an understanding of the tensions that characterise historical and contemporary criminal justice processes with respect to domestic violence. KCT
Identify the nature and forms that domestic violence may entail. KCPT
Identify and contextualise the multiple impacts that domestic violence can have on victims, their families, and communities. KCPT
Explain how an increasingly globalised economy and culture may impact criminal justice laws and policies regarding domestic violence. KCPT
Identify core dimensions effecting our understandings of domestic violence, including the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, nationality, and social class. KCPT
Show awareness of contemporary developments in laws and policies focused upon domestic violence, and analyse their effectiveness. KCPT
Identify key theoretical explanations for victimisation and perpetration of domestic violence. KCPT
Explain the ways to identify the primary aggressor in cases suggesting mutual battering. KCPT
Explain how domestic violence is portrayed by the media and whether such portrayals are accurate, or distorted and why. KCT
Explain what effects public presentations may have on perpetrators committing acts of domestic violence and public opinion about these offenses. KCPT
Critically assess the new legislation concerning coercive control. KCPT
Critically assess police responses to domestic violence calls and arrest policies. KCPT
Recognise the components of evidence-based batterer intervention programs. KCT
Analyse the civil protective order regime and its effectiveness. KCPT
Debate the efficacy of victim-oriented policies. KCPT
Critically assess prosecutorial policies and charging discretion in cases of domestic violence. KCPT
Critically assess punishments assessed domestic violence perpetrators. KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content

Indicative content includes:

Understanding domestic violence

Types and intents
Gendered nature
Contextualising abusive relationships

Theoretical explanations for perpetration and victimisation in domestic violence

Power and control
Cycle of violence
Connection between sports and domestic violence
Battered women’s syndrome
Trauma response

Laws and policies regarding domestic violence

Historical development
Specialised family violence statutes
Influence of committee reports
New coercive control statute

Multi-agency responses

Policing domestic violence

Arrest policies
Domestic violence disclosure scheme
Investigating technology use in stalking

Civil protective orders

Prosecuting domestic violence crimes

Charging decisions
Victims’ rights
Vulnerable victims and witnesses
Evidentiary issues

Courts and sentencing

Specialised courts
Domestic violence advisers
Expert witnesses

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to introduce topics and contextualise their importance to criminal justice practices. Case studies as well as the results of empirical research on topics of interest are critically assessed. Each week’s materials are not to be read in isolation, but are designed to build on the cumulative knowledge students should gain as the module moves forward. Students are asked to consider, with a nuanced and critical analysis, why certain conduct regarding domestic violence has been criminalised or not and why. We consider the moral and policy considerations that legislators face in deciding to criminalise behaviors and the punishments that they tie to unlawful acts. The recently enacted English law on coercive control is a particular focus.

The learning and teaching methods include:

An emphasis on interactive class discussion and debate.
Encouragement in spotting relevant social, policy, and legal issues.
Assigned readings and lecture material are integrated with class exercises.
Forms of media (film, audio, and print) highlighting issues relevant to the course content will be incorporated.
The class presentations are designed to encourage students to structure material and to effectively present ideas and arguments orally, as public speaking is a common practice in a legal career.
Students will be encouraged to ask respectful questions of interest during the group/individual presentations given by other students.
The summative coursework is designed to allow students to demonstrate learning from the written materials, class discussions, and exercises.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students the opportunity to demonstrate their skills as critical thinkers and oral communicators, while additionally showing their mastery of the course material and their engagement with relevant literature.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

Group/Individual class presentation; and
Final essay at the end of the module

Formative assessment

Seminars involve group activities. Students will receive ongoing individual feedback during seminars and oral feedback on group activities.

Students will be encouraged to discuss their planned group or individual presentation to get feedback from the course convenor prior to their scheduled presentations.

Students will be afforded the opportunity to gain written feedback via a formative assessment (1,500 word coursework) that will not count toward the final grade but may improve the students’ summative assessments.


Will be given orally on the class presentation.

Reading list


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Law LLB (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2017/8 academic year.