Deconstructing Crime Through Language
This chapter illustrates dissembling through the craft of language in the incident summary write-up, in which some officers construct an alternative “paper” reality that bears little resemblance to HBA victim narratives. Numerous patterned police practices are identified, such as altering the “crime” by removing key words, presenting information in formulaic compressed closed question format, using language to distort and trivialise the report; sin by omission is a prevalent discretionary practice, as 71% of DASH risk assessments contain incomplete or missing data. The “family dispute” theme and the unwillingness of victims in disclosing offences replicate traditional domestic abuse explanations. Such stratagems dilute or entirely negate the risks to victims, stifle legitimate lines of enquiry, decriminalise cases and wrongly justify officers’ no-crime decisions.
KeywordsPolicing honour-based abuse Deconstructing crime through language Sin by omission DASH risk assessments Interpreters
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