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Ability of Criminal Law to Produce Gender Equality: Judicial Discourses in the Swedish Criminal Legal System

NCJ Number
Violence Against Women Volume: 16 Issue: 2 Dated: February 2010 Pages: 173-188
Monica Burman
Date Published
February 2010
16 pages
This article examines the effect of Swedish laws designed to protect women exposed to domestic violence.
The main aim of the Swedish Women's Peace reform in 1998 was to enhance criminal legal protection for women exposed to violence in heterosexual relationships and to promote gender equality. However, these ambitions risk being contravened in a masculinist criminal legal system. One problem concerns how the victim is constructed in criminal legal cases. The author argues that moral balancing and discourses of responsibility and guilt in Swedish cases constrain the agency possible for women and suggest that a more comprehensive policy in Sweden must be developed to include violent men, their agency, and their responsibility for the violence. (Published Abstract)