Talking responsibility : discourses of accountability at the Waitakere Family Violence Court : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University
To meet the six aims of the court's protocol, the operations of the court need to be effective from a variety of different vantage points: from perspectives of victims and defendants, the judiciary and court administration, and also from the perspectives of community organisations, lawyers, police and community probation. This research was undertaken as part of a wider project to assess the extent to which the court protocols are effective in achieving the court's aims from the point of view of all those who take part in translating the court's principles into everyday practice. These perspectives are all vital to the dynamic process through which the state, the judiciary and the community collaborate at Waitakere (holistic accountability). Interviews and focus groups were conducted with court professionals practicing from diverse vantage points in the WFVC process. Through a discursive analysis of interview data it was evident that offender accountability was interpreted differently among participants, and variations in interpretations co-articulated with different perspectives in understanding the philosophy of therapeutic jurisprudence, its relationship to procedural justice, and the responsibility of the court to provide legal protection for victims. This thesis is an analysis of court participants' interpretations of offender accountability and how these interpretations are produced through different theories of justice. Constructions of domestic violence and accountability are analysed to show how dominant constructions reproduce victims' responsibility for their own safety.