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Prosecuting Domestic Abuse in England and Wales: Crown Prosecution Service ‘Working Practice’and New Public Managerialism

Porter, Antonia (2019) Prosecuting Domestic Abuse in England and Wales: Crown Prosecution Service ‘Working Practice’and New Public Managerialism. Social & Legal Studies, 28 (4). pp. 493-516. ISSN 0964-6639. (doi:10.1177/0964663918796699) (KAR id:70959)

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The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) regards offences of domestic abuse as ‘particularly serious’ (CPS, 2014) and considers tackling violence against women a ‘priority’ (CPS, 2017a). This article examines how criminal prosecutors in England and Wales approach cases of intimate partner abuse in practice, specifically at the point when a complainant no longer wishes to support the prosecution. It first introduces ‘New Public Managerialism’ (NPM). This is the lens through which the qualitative responses of a sample of 9 prosecutors are thematically analysed. Second, the primary research indicates a prosecutorial tendency or ‘working practice’ in 2017 disinclined to terminate cases on request, prompting instead the routine or habitual use of ‘witness summons’. Third, the article exposes how techniques of NPM have contributed to the identified ‘working practice’ often in concealed and unintended ways. Managerial priorities in this context appear to have restricted the free exercise of the prosecutor’s discretion to take decisions on a case by case basis. The implications for women’s safety and autonomy are considered.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/0964663918796699
Uncontrolled keywords: Domestic Violence and Abuse, Crown Prosecution Service, Managerialism
Subjects: K Law
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > Kent Law School
Depositing User: Sian Robertson
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2018 11:37 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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