Presentation on theme: "An Ambiguous Relationship?: Policing, Prosecuting and Censuring wife- beating in Scotland, c1870-1939 Annmarie Hughes The Illustrated Police News, November."— Presentation transcript:
An Ambiguous Relationship?: Policing, Prosecuting and Censuring wife- beating in Scotland, c1870-1939 Annmarie Hughes The Illustrated Police News, November 14, 1896
Policing Poor reputation for dealing with domestic cases Charges of drunk and disorderly and Breach of the Peace rather than assault: William and his wife had been in lodgings but had separated. He turned up at her home after he had been drinking and the landlady refused to admit him. He then assaulted his wife and her heavily pregnant sister and police were called. He was warned to go away and leave them alone. It was only after he refused that he was taken to the Police Station - he was fined £2 12/6 for the assaults and a charge of Breach of the Peace. Criminal Officers Reports, Glasgow Parish, 1920 Character witnesses
Rules of evidence: In 1888 the wife of Thomas McFarlane approached a policeman after her husband had smashed her face with an iron grate, fracturing her jaw. She was asked if she had any witnesses. Because she did not have witnesses the police refused to take action. The ‘reluctance’ of wives to prosecute Ill-equipped Impediments
Individuals apprehended and charged with assault in 1900: Assault: 288 [271 against men] Police Assault: 59 [56 against men] Assault by husbands on wives: 3677
39 out of 356 Scottish homicides resulted in murder convictions 10% of murder charges were not proven. 1/3 rd of all men tried for killing their wives were acquitted Only 7% of men who killed a wife who ‘provoked’ them were convicted of murder. Only one Scottish husbands was convicted of killing a drunken wife. ½ the men accused of murder in rape homicides were acquitted. Those most at risk of the death penalty in Scotland for murder were those who killed while poaching. C. Conley, Certain Other Countries Homicide, Gender, and National Identity in Late Nineteenth- Century England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, Ohio State University Press, 2007 1867-1892
Media discourse and domestic violence ‘We do not excuse the men, but there can be no doubt that in many cases if the women managed better, they would not fare so badly. Many men's homes are made utterly dull and comfortless, and even repulsive to them by the slatternliness or stupidity of their partners. And even where the housekeeping is good enough... the housekeeper has become a permanent vixen or an intermittent virago. In such circumstances a man is very strongly tempted. It is extremely irritating to find himself neglected, defied, or domineered over by a person who ought in duty and fairness to behave very differently.’ Scotsman, 13th October 1871.
Limited discursive pressure influencing public opinion and the policing priorities in relation to domestic violence Potential class-based concept of masculinity influencing policing Class differences between the police and the judiciary and media influences the ambiguity between apprehension and punishment.