The ethics of victim voice in Domestic Homicide Reviews
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-09, 21:54 authored by James Rowlands
Domestic Homicide Reviews (DHRs) are publicly available and provide an anonymised account of intimate partner or family homicides in England and Wales, largely by describing the circumstances before a victim’s death. They aim to reduce the likelihood of future homicides by identifying, learning and using this to improve prevention and intervention strategies. Epistemologically, DHRs are infused with ethical tensions. In practice, while statutory guidance sets out how to undertake DHRs, there is no shared ethical code of conduct to assist practitioners in conceptualising or navigating ethical debates and dilemmas. Researchers face similar challenges. As published documents, DHRs are open access and have largely been analysed in aggregate as secondary data. However, their accessibility has led to a lack of critical attention to matters of consent, anonymity or privacy or the discursive practices in their production. To date then, ethical issues have been little considered in DHRs. Utilising a researcher and practitioner perspective, this paper considers ethical issues, in particular those that concern victim subjectivity. This can be described in DHRs as ‘victim voice’ and is often taken for granted. Conceptual and practical implications are discussed, including considerations for both practitioners and researchers that might more fully foreground victim voice.
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- Sociology and Criminology Publications
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