Topic: Violence and abuse

Grøvdal, Y. (2012). En vellykket sak? Kvinner utsatt for mishandling møter strafferettsapparatet Norwegian only. Unipub forlag. (Dissertation).

Accordingly, during the last 10 to 15 years, shifting Norwegian governments have directed their efforts towards the improvement of the work of the police as well as the court processes in such cases. My main objective with this thesis, has been to study how battered women themselves have experienced the penal process from the first contact with the police, through to the final court procedure.

On the one hand, the present work shows that the penal system seems to be the last resort for some of the women subject to violence from their husband or partner. Many aspects of life with a man who batters seem to make the women reluctant to report the violence to the police, as well as to tell friends and relatives about it.
Most of the women in this study seemed unable to report until they had left their partner or had decided that they would do so.

On the other hand, women who did try to engage the criminal justice system – first and foremost the police – in their efforts to stop or reduce the violence, were not necessarily successful in that project. There seem to exist what we may describe as ”public images” of the abuse itself, of the battered women and of the men who batter. These images, intended to be of benefit to the battered woman, rather seem to complicate her with the employees of the criminal justice system.

I question the contribution of the penal system to the lives of battered women, especially given the system’s weight on reaction – as opposed to prevention – and general prevention. The fact that the women no longer experience actual physical violence from their former partners, does not amount to a life in peace and freedom. The description given by the Norwegian court system as being the most important organ for conflict resolution in the country does not appear to apply to the cases in my study.