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Responsibility or Responsibilization in Medical Evidencing of Domestic Violence? The Belgian Case Analyzed Through a Care Ethical Lens.

Authors
  • Vergaert, Eva1
  • 1 RHEA, Centre of Expertise Gender, Diversity and Intersectionality, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussel, Belgium. , (Belgium)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Violence against women
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2024
Volume
30
Issue
2
Pages
485–502
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1177/10778012221134824
PMID: 36398365
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

The prosecution of domestic violence remains a complex process within criminal policy in Belgium. Evidence is often reliant on medical certificates or injury reports, necessary for victims who want to file official complaints. However, medical evidencing is a contentious issue. Based on qualitative research among public prosecutors, victims, and general practitioners in Belgium, this study analyses the challenges these groups face through an ethics of care lens. Despite their crucial importance in legal procedures, the use of certificates is surrounded by contradictions. The issues point to an unequal distribution of responsibilities, which masks institutional and political responsibilities and enhances the responsibilization of victims.

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