Harmed selves harming others – a vulnerability approach to the criminal justice system
In recent decades violence in intimate relationships has garnered considerable attention in both media and legal doctrine in Sweden. The demand for state responsibility and prevention of this violence has been strong and loud, especially in the last five to ten years (e.g. Amnesty, 2010). As in many other legal systems, this violence had not been an explicit issue for the criminal justice system until some 30 years ago; until then it was considered more or less a private matter. 2 Gradually the attitude towards public interference in intimate relationships has changed, both within and outside the legal system. At the moment, public authorities such as the police, social services, and the courts are being heavily criticized. For example, in some high-profile cases policemen and judges have been blamed for missing important aspects of the victim’s vulnerable situation and the ongoing violence, thus indirectly causing the death of the women victims. In this chapter, I analyze one of these cases in order to highlight the notion of autonomy and vulnerability in public and private domains within the criminal justice system.