Journal of
Law and Conflict Resolution

  • Abbreviation: J. Law Conflict. Resolut
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9804
  • DOI: 10.5897/JLCR
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 102


A feminist inquiry into intimate partner violence law, policy, policing, and possible prejudices in Alaska

Carmen M. Cusack
Nova Southeastern University
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 31 December 2012
  •  Published: 28 February 2013


Intimate partner violence (IPV) correlates to patriarchal attitudes and disproportionately affects women. Previously, feminists fought IPV by using the criminal justice system. Now, feminists are examining the criminological data, and questioning whether the criminal justice system treats IPV with patriarchal attitudes and paternalistic policies that further diminish the power of women while continuing to favor masculine gender roles. The State of Alaska’s treatment of IPV serves as a prime example of how patriarchal attitudes, at best, lend to paternalistic justice even though the state judiciary and the ninth circuit routinely and actively strive to implement social justice. In order to thwart IPV, feminists, law makers, and the State of Alaska must retool attitudes and policies. This article discussed data which demonstrates that patriarchal thinking and attitudes can contribute to IPV and examines how patriarchal perspectives can underlie and shape IPV law and policy. It considers why it would be better to preemptively redefine society instead of continuing to respond to IPV using patriarchal norms. If patriarchal perspectives cannot be preempted, then the criminal justice system should respond to IPV with feminist solutions. It also discusses the alternative, feminist solutions for dealing with IPV in the criminal justice system and concluded on the argument and calling for action.


Key words: Patriarchy, Alaska, criminal justice, feminism, intimate partner violence.