This report examines how and why changes to the law of self-defence have not had their intended effects. It explores how legal professionals and experts understand IPV, influencing which facts are selected and presented as relevant in the criminal process and the meaning made of those facts.

This report demonstrates that the model of IPV relied on by prosecutors, expert witnesses, judges and others can have the effect either of revealing the violence a woman claims to have acted in self-defence against, or of undercutting that claim. It suggests that the current models of IPV used in the criminal justice system prepackage a defendant’s defensive actions in response to IPV as unreasonable.

This report has been written to be an educational and training resource for law students, police, prosecution and defence lawyers, expert witnesses, and judges.

Publication Details


ANROWS Research report 03/2019