Self-blame and (becoming) the crazy ex: Domestic abuse, information sharing and responsibilisation

Renehan, Nicole, Barlow, Charlotte orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-1362-7131 and Walklate, Sandra (2023) Self-blame and (becoming) the crazy ex: Domestic abuse, information sharing and responsibilisation. Criminology and Criminal Justice . ISSN 1748-8958

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The 2021 Domestic Abuse Act puts the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (Clare’s Law) on a statutory footing which allows police forces to share someone’s criminal history to prevent domestic abuse. In this article, we draw on the findings from a wider study on women’s experiences of accessing such schemes and instead highlight the informal ways in which women shared and received information about domestic abuse experiences among each other to prevent domestic abuse. These experiences are located within a ‘red flag’ discourse which we argue inadvertently responsibilises women, who in turn blame themselves for failing to leave abusive relationships. The conclusion makes some suggestions as to how a better understanding of the reality of victim-survivors’ everyday lives might inform the practices of those tasked with supporting women in making sense of disclosures of domestic abuse and providing appropriate support at the right time.

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