Holly JohnsonProfessor Holly Johnson of the University of Ottawa will explore “Mandatory Charging and Women’s Empowerment,” in a free public lecture Thursday.

Safety and security of women subject of lecture

Their ability to provide safety for victims gives police and courts an important role to play in the reduction of violence against intimate partners, says Holly Johnson.

A professor of criminology at the University of Ottawa, she will explore the topic in her free public presentation, “Mandatory Charging and Women’s Empowerment,” Thursday, April 26, at 4 p.m. in room 203, Toldo Health Education Centre.

“Mandatory charging policies are a cornerstone of an aggressive criminal justice response to intimate partner violence, but support for these policies is mixed,” says Dr. Johnson. “In favour are those who see the potential for criminal justice intervention to empower and protect women, validate their experiences, and condemn the violence.

“Critics warn that mandatory charging can be used against women who use violence defensively and that strengthening the powers of a patriarchal justice system fails to restructure gender hierarchies.”

She will discuss a study examining the issue from the perspectives of abused women, service providers, and police.

The event is presented by the Health Research Centre for the Study of Violence against Women and co-sponsored by the Department of Psychology; the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology; and the Violence Against Women Co-ordinating Committee of Windsor-Essex.