Mäns dödliga våld mot kvinnor i nära relationer – Straffrättens utformning och inverkan på skuldfrågan
Sammanfattning: Every fifth case of lethal violence in Sweden 2018 was constituted by men’s lethal violence against female partners or formal partners. This kind of violence is a problem of big proportions that needs to be detained now. Legislation and condemnation through the Swedish justice system are important means to achieve change in a gender equal direction. There are however parts of the Swedish criminal law that are being criticized for still creating possibilities to reduce abusive men’s responsibility, which interferes with the development of a more equitable legal treatment of men’s violence against women in intimate relations. The criminal law is constructed in a way that enables men’s reactions, when using lethal violence, to be considered as a state of affect, triggered by morally acceptable impulses, which often are attributed to the perpetrator’s mental state or the victim’s actions. In the process of deciding the perpetrator’s punishment, the penalty can be reduced from murder to manslaughter if the perpetrator intended to take his own life after killing someone else. A mitigation circumstance of this kind is problematic from a gender perspective, as it is much more common when the victim is a woman and because it is connected to the perception that a man’s behavior as caused during a state of affect. Furthermore, there is an established perception in the courts practice, that domestic violence is seen as relationship hassles instead of an actual crime. When assessing the value of the penalty, mitigating circumstances like provocation can be used. For instance, infidelity has in a number of cases been used in court to lower the value of the penalty. Violent men are given the opportunity to blame their use of violence on women instead of being held accountable for their emotional reactions and inability to handle their actions. The regulation on provocation does not require an investigation to whether a provocation has actually occurred, it may be sufficient to ascertain that the perpetrator reckon he has been provoked. Seen in the context of the most common causes behind men’s lethal violence against women in intimate relations, namely jealousy, this regulation even functions as a legal excuse for men to use violence against women. Today, the circumstance that lethal violence is used in domestic relations constitutes an aggravating condition when assessing the value of the penalty. The preparatory work even considers it as a ground for life imprisonment. The Justice Committee’s proposition 2020/21:JuU31 points out that despite this, there may be reasons to add domestic violence as a ground for life imprisonment directly in the paragraph and thus increase predictability and ensure that it is given particular consideration by the court. The Committee declares that the three alterations of the regulation of murder since 2009 needs to be taking into account, as well as the alteration 2014 that did not end up changing the legal situation because the purpose of the alteration was not compatible with the design of the paragraph. However, creating space to consider domestic violence without having to take into account the relationships between gender and power, can result in further injustices in the issue of responsibility.
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