Module code: LAW2104

Module Overview

This module is interdisciplinary in nature, tracing the private and public conceptualisations of domestic
abuse through changing political, economic, and legal cultures. Domestic abuse has until recently been a
largely neglected area of criminal justice research and policy. Yet the last few decades have witnessed
significant changes in the attention that politicians and criminal justice officials give toward modifying existing legal structures and crafting new policies designed to address the unique nature of domestic
abuse offending and victimisation. The module covers victimisation and perpetration, laws and policies,
and criminal justice responses regarding domestic violence. Domestic abuse in the United Kingdom is a
focus, yet comparative contexts across the globe and within various cultures are considered as well.

Module provider

School of Law

Module Leader

HAMILTON Melissa (Schl of Law)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 71

Lecture Hours: 22

Tutorial Hours: 5

Guided Learning: 40

Captured Content: 12

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

Understanding domestic abuse

  • Terminology

  • Types and intents

  • Gendered nature

  • Contextualising abusive relationships

Theoretical explanations for perpetration and victimisation in domestic abuse

  • Power and control

  • Cycle of violence

  • Masculinities

  • Connection between sports and domestic violence

  • Trauma response

Laws and policies regarding domestic abuse

  • Historical development

  • Specialised family violence statutes

  • Coercive control statute

  • Strangulation

  • Application of general criminal law statutes to domestic abuse

Policing domestic abuse

  • Arrest policies

  • Domestic violence disclosure scheme

  • Use of cautions

Civil protective orders

Prosecuting domestic abuse crimes

  • Charging decisions

  • Victims’ rights

  • Vulnerable victims and witnesses

  • Evidentiary issues

Courts and sentencing

  • Specialised courts

  • Sentencing guidelines

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination 3 HOUR ONLINE EXAM 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate: their skills as critical thinkers and communicators, while additionally showing their mastery of the course material and their engagement with relevant literature. These skills enhance employability and cultural competencies while also showing individual resiliency.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of a final examination at the end of the module with some combination of a problem question, essay, and objective questions.

Students will be afforded the opportunity to gain written feedback via a formative assessment that will not count toward the final grade but may improve the students¿ summative performances.

Module aims

  • Help students develop skills in analysis, communication, and debate (which assists with employability).
  • Provide an overview of the nature and forms that domestic abuse can take, such as physical, sexual, economic, emotional, psychological, and pet abuse (cultural intelligence).
  • Assess the impacts that domestic violence can have on individual victims, their families, and communities (addresses sustainability).
  • Explore cases and controversies in historical and contemporary societies regarding domestic abuse (addresses global and cultural intelligence).
  • Provide a historical overview of informal and formal social control tools employed (or not) to combat domestic abuse (global and cultural intelligence).
  • Explore the key theoretical explanations for victimisation and perpetration of domestic abuse offences (global and cultural intelligence).
  • Draw theoretical insights from the academic domains of criminology, victimology, psychology, sociology, and legal studies (combining multiple skill sets addresses employability).
  • Examine the responses of police, prosecutors, and judges to domestic abuse cases.
  • Consider the effectiveness of domestic abuse policies and laws (sustainability).

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate an understanding of the tensions that characterize historical and contemporary criminal justice processes with respect to domestic abuse. CKT
002 Identify the nature and forms that domestic abuse may entail. CKPT
003 Identify and contextualise the multiple impacts that domestic abuse can have on victims, their families, and communities, with relevant considerations of their resiliency. CKPT
004 Critically assess prosecutorial policies and charging discretion in cases of domestic abuse. CKP
005 Identify core dimensions affecting our understanding of domestic abuse, including the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, nationality, and social class. CKT
006 Show awareness of contemporary developments in laws and policies focused upon domestic abuse, and analyse their effectiveness. CKPT
007 Identify key theoretical explanations for victimisation and perpetration of domestic abuse which are relevant to cultural intelligence. CKPT
008 Explain the ways to identify the primary aggressor in cases suggesting mutual battering. CKPT
009 Debate the efficacy of victim-oriented policies. CKPT
010 Critically assess new legislation and policies. CKPT
011 Critically assess police responses to domestic abuse calls and arrest policies. CKPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to: introduce topics and contextualise their importance to criminal justice practices. Case studies as well as the results of empirical research on topics of interest are critically assessed. Each week¿s materials are not to be read in isolation, but are designed to build on the cumulative knowledge students should gain as the module moves forward. Course materials will build upon what students have learned in Criminal Law. Students are asked to consider, with a nuanced and critical analysis, why certain conduct regarding domestic violence has been criminalised or not and why. We consider the moral and policy considerations that legislators face in deciding to criminalise behaviours and the punishments that they tie to unlawful acts. The recently enacted English law on coercive control is a particular focus.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • An emphasis on interactive class discussion and debate (resourcefulness and resilience).

  • Encouragement in spotting relevant social, policy, and legal issues (resourcefulness, global and cultural intelligence).

  • Assigned readings and lecture material are integrated with class exercises (resourcefulness).

  • Forms of media (film, audio, and print) highlighting issues relevant to the course content will be incorporated (digital capability).

  • The summative examination is designed to allow students to demonstrate learning from the written materials, class discussions, and exercises (employability and sustainability

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: LAW2104

Other information

Teaching methods and assessment strategies are consistent with the University’s core educational objectives of employability, digital capabilities, global and cultural intelligence, sustainability and resourcefulness and resilience. Employability is addressed by permitting students to enhance their critical thinking skills, combining knowledge from various academic disciplines, and improving argumentation skills conducted in a professional manner. Digital capabilities are fostered through using technological and web-based materials in class and with content students can engage individually. Global and cultural intelligence is a key marker for this course that includes materials and engages students in understanding how domestic abuse is unfortunately a problem that historically and currently plagues societies around the world. Learning the macro and micro-level conditions that allows domestic abuse to foster enhances multiple intelligences. The knowledge gained helps sustainability as domestic abuse can have intergenerational consequences, such that engaging with how laws and policies might better prevent domestic abuse can improve the sustainability of healthy children and their families in the future, with greater benefits as well to their communities. The subject matter of the course is difficult considering the topic and the subjects it covers, though successfully completing the course should improve students’ resiliency for navigating their careers and societal expectations.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Law LLB (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Law (Law and Technology Pathway) LLB (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Law (Philosophy, Politics and Law Pathway) LLB (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2023/4 academic year.