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Homicide law reform in Victoria, Australia from provocation to defensive homicide and beyond
journal contributionposted on 2012-01-01, 00:00 authored by Kate Fitz-Gibbon, S Pickering
Homicide law reform surrounding the partial defences to murder currently animates legal stakeholders in Australia and the United Kingdom, particularly in relation to cases of lethal intimate partner violence. In 2005, the Victorian Government implemented a series of homicide law reforms, central to which was the abolition of the partial defence of provocation and the instatement of an offence of defensive homicide. This article, based on a larger qualitative research study with British, Victorian and New South Wales legal stakeholders, explores experiences and perceptions of reforms in Victoria. An analysis of the impact of homicide law reform, using Hudson's principles of discursiveness and reflectiveness as a framework for analysis, reveals some dissonance between the intent and outcomes of these legal reforms. This study concludes that reforms crafted to counter gender bias in the operation of homicide law have produced mixed results for female victims of intimate partner homicide and related case law.