Dr Zoë Prebble1
1Victoria University Of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Wellington, New Zealand
Under the traditional transaction-based model of criminalisation, family and intimate partner violence is criminalised and understood as discrete, separately criminalised incidents of physical violence and threats rather than as part of an ongoing pattern of coercive control. However, there are problems associated with conceptualising and criminalising domestic violence in this atomised way. The paper analyses the degree to which transactional, atomised offences are unable to adequately capture and criminalise the true harms and wrongs of coercive control. This paper considers the advantages of new, course of conduct domestic violence offences that contextualise, reconceptualise and criminalise intimate partner violence as an interrelated pattern of controlling and abusive behaviour, rather than a series of context-free, discrete events.
A number of jurisdictions have introduced course of conduct offences of this kind, including Sweden, and England and Wales. The paper considers international experiences with such offences, and makes the case for a course of conduct coercive control offence in New Zealand.
Zoë Prebble is a lecturer at the Faculty of Law at Victoria University of Wellington. Her research and teaching interests centre on criminal law and criminal and feminist legal theory. She is particularly interested in gendered violence and the ways in which it is criminalised, issues related to overcriminalisation, and how to reconcile these two themes.