Similar punishment? Comparing Sentencing Outcomes in Domestic and Non-Domestic Violence Cases
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Despite shifts in Western liberal democracies towards stronger criminal justice responses to domestic violence, the issue of sentencing disparity between domestic and non-domestic violence offending cases remains largely neglected. Using a population of cases sentenced in the New South Wales (Australia) lower courts between January 2009 and June 2012, we report multivariate analyses of the sentencing of domestic violence and non-domestic violence offences. Results show that when sentenced under statistically similar circumstances, domestic violence offenders are less likely than those convicted of crimes outside of domestic contexts to be sentenced to prison although the substantive impact is small. Further, of those imprisoned, domestic violence offenders receive significantly shorter sentenced terms. Our findings also suggest that, for domestic violence offences, there may be a 'punishment cost' to being older, male and Indigenous.The role of outmoded stereotypical assumptions around domestic violence in sentencing decision making is discussed.
British Journal of Criminology
Copyright 2014 Oxford University Press. This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in British Journal of Criminology following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version, Similar punishment? Comparing Sentencing Outcomes in Domestic and Non-Domestic Violence Cases, British Journal of Criminology, (2014) 54 (5): 849-872 is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azu034.
Courts and Sentencing