Letter: Victims of domestic violence want different outcomes

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CAROLYN HOYLE overlooked one very obvious explanation for why women who have been abused don't wish their partners to be dealt with by the criminal justice process ("Let the victims speak", Real Life, 13 September). Fear. Fear of the man and of what she knows him to be capable of doing to her and her children. Maybe some of the women Ms Hoyle spoke to would feel more positive about sanctions if they knew that prison for the man, and a breathing space for them, was more than the remotest possibility.

Women who have been abused are individuals; it is patronising to claim to know what all women want. Some want their men to be changed so they can stay with them without being abused, some want their men sent to prison so they and their children can get on with their lives. One solution is unlikely to apply to all.

For Ms Hoyle to imply that feminists have imposed our analysis of domestic abuse without any consideration of what women want is insulting. We have over 25 years of experience of listening to women, and our analysis came out of that experience rather than the other way around.

LESLEY IRVING

Scottish Women's Aid

Edinburgh

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