Abstract: Neil Feigenson asks, ‘how does justice change in a culture awash with pictures?’ The camera is now firmly rooted in criminal justice practices. Building on the classic ‘mug shots’ and crime scene photos, we see photography as well as video imagery playing an increasingly important role in evidence collection. This is particularly true in the investigation of incidences of domestic violence where changes in both policing and prosecutorial practices have moved justice systems more and more towards a heavy reliance on images and a commensurate assignment of probative value. Enshrined in what is now colloquially known as the victimless prosecution in the United States and the vigorous prosecution model in Canada, both video and still images are routinely part of the prosecution of domestic violence. Specifically, what are known in Canada as KGB statements as well as photographs of victims injuries are now commonplace and their collection is seen as vital to good policing practice. If justice is now awash with images and the prosecution of domestic violence cases in particular is now routinely image reliant, what does this mean for the actual victim? Where does she sit in relation to these images? How does the proliferation of images of her victimization impact her own presence in the prosecution of her assault? As part of a larger project on the use of images in the prosecution of domestic violence, we argue here that these images have particular truth effects in DV prosecutions, effects that sit in direct relationship but also distinctly apart from the victim herself. We suggest that the widespread use of images in these prosecutions creates a ‘data double’ (Ericson and Haggerty, 2004) of the victim, a virtual doppelganger whose relationship to the actual victim is at times friendly but is also fraught and even antagonistic, particular for those ‘uncooperative’ victims who recant or renarrate their experiences of violence.
About the speaker: Dr Dawn Moore is an Associate Professor in the Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University. She is currently researching the use of visual evidence in the prosecution of domestic violence cases as well as the problem of transparency in the Canadian penal system. Dr Moore has written extensively on criminalized subjectivities (with a focus on addictions), feminist criminology and is currently co-editing a book on law and the senses. Her current work with Dr Rashmee Singh (University of Waterloo) is inspired by feminist, Foucaultian and surveillance studies traditions as well as actor-network theory and emerging literatures on law and sensuality and law and emotion.
Location: Criminology Meeting Room (Room 341, Third Floor), Centre for Criminology, Manor Road Building, Manor Road, University of Oxford