Domestic abuse prevention after Raoul Moat (UK)

From Critical Social Policy

In this paper the author charts the development of domestic abuse policy between May 2010 and June 2011, a period in which the UK witnessed one of the most high profile domestic abuse cases pass almost without recognition as such. This event refers to the tragic incident where Raoul Moat went on a killing spree starting with injuring his ex partner and killing her boyfriend. After a police chase and further casualties and deaths the episode concluded when Raoul shot himself. As details of Raoul’s life unfolded it became obvious that he was a very troubled and violent man with a history of unleashing domestic abuse.  The article uses both the research literature on domestic abuse and the case of Raoul Moat to argue that preventative work in this field needs to keep issues of gender – especially masculinity – in the political frame. It suggests that the after­math of the Raoul Moat case was a missed opportunity for reflecting on the relationship between masculinity, violence and personal crisis, raising, as it did, the spectre of a dangerous man consumed by loss, whose violence could not be contained by a police service that knew him only too well. The paper also recognizes that during the time of the Raoul Moat incident, much of the infrastructure designed to tackle and prevent domestic abuse outside the criminal justice system began to be dismantled in anticipation of cost-cutting reform designated necessary to the advent of the ‘Big Society’.

Abstract

This article charts the development of domestic abuse policy between May 2010 and June 2011, a period in which: the UK witnessed a high profile domestic abuse case – that of Raoul Moat – pass almost without recognition as such; whilst the dismantling of much of the infrastructure used to prevent domestic abuse outside the criminal justice system commenced, in anticipation of cost-cutting reform designated necessary to the advent of the ‘Big Society’. The article uses both the research literature on domestic abuse and the case of Raoul Moat to argue that preventative work in this field needs to keep issues of gender – especially masculinity – in the political frame. This focus on masculinity should not, however, be reduced merely to attitudes accepting of violence or macho values, but should, the article argues, also keep the relationships between violence, emotional dependency, heterosexual propriety, and life crises in view. The article queries whether the Coalition government’s focus on ‘payback’, ‘discipline’ in schools and the ‘sexualization of children’ is likely to help more than hinder in this regard, and points to the real risks entailed in economic restructuring that increases the proportion of women and children vulnerable to repeat victimization.

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Article details
Gadd, D. (2012). Domestic Abuse Prevention After Raoul Moat Critical Social Policy DOI: 10.1177/0261018312439361

     
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