Oratie. Met recht 'n zorg? Overdenkingen bij wet- en regelgeving over geweld in de privésfeer


  • Renée C. Römkens


This paper is a summary of the inaugural lecture presented as Chair on Interpersonal Violence, in particular violence in the private domain, at Tilburg University. It addresses shifts in perspective on domestic violence over the past thirty years in the Netherlands. Domestic violence has moved from an activist concern in the political margin to a mainstream concern in legal and policy developments. The paper focuses on shifts in legal regulation, and critically addresses the criminalization of domestic violence. Empirical evidence underlines unintended and at times counterproductive consequences of the(criminal) law in action, certainly from a victim’s perspective. From a Foucauldian perspective it is argued that domestic violence has moved to the center of a multi-faceted disciplinary and self-disciplinary regime. At the same time, however, criminal law tends to have increased its power, despite its limited effectiveness. It is argued that this illuminates structural dynamics of the legal system as a uniquely powerful legal disciplinary regime.