• Caroline Skovgård Jørgensen
  • Mie Mølbak
4. semester, Kriminologi, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
Psychological violence is a new phenomenon in the Danish criminal justice system. A law against degrading and coercive behavior in close relations was introduced in Straffeloven under § 243 in 2019 because legislators wanted to protect the victims of this kind of behavior with a legal defense.
The objective of this master thesis is to examine the application of the Danish law against psychological violence as well as the possibilities and limitations of the criminalization.
Our approach is explorative as this is the first research of its kind examining the new law. Using mixed methods, we have examined 631 police reports and 29 court transcripts to analyze the selection of cases within the criminal justice system. This was made possible through our collaboration with the danish police, who have provided us with information of every reported case of psychological violence in Denmark.
The analysis shows that the new law is difficult to use in practice and very few perpetrators have so far been convicted of psychological violence. The main challenge is the many legal requirements of the law that also leaves a significant room for police, prosecutor and court discretion.
The phenomenon, which in practice falls under the legal definition of psychological violence, is relatively homogeneous. Whereas the 631 police reports contain diverse narratives, gender representation and relations between perpetrator and victim, the 10 convictions tell similar stories. The narrative is about a male perpetrator battering his female partner. This seems to confirm the formula story about domestic violence and thereby exclude many reported cases.
The criminal justice approach to the problem of psychological violence has so far been unsuccessful in meeting its objective to protect victims. There is a possibility that the legislation will help build normative barriers against the criminalized behavior, but this theoretical effect is long-term and dependent on the application of the law. If Denmark wants to prosecute more cases of psychological violence and convict more perpetrators, we argue that legislators will have to consider a rephrasing of the law to make it easier to use in practice.
Udgivelsesdato21 jun. 2021
Antal sider108
Ekstern samarbejdspartnerNordjyllands Politi
Henrik Taagaard HTA003@politi.dk
ID: 414033543