Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Legal Responses to Domestic and Honour Abuse LAW3040

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Law
  • Credits: 30
  • Level: Level 3 (SCQF level 9)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

  Historically, the law has struggled to respond to various forms of abuse in an effective manner. Although significant developments have been made across the globe in recent years, rates of abuse remain worryingly high, as evidenced by the UN's Global Database on Violence Against Women and UNICEF Child Marriage Data Covid-19 has exacerbated existing problems, with it being suggested that a second pandemic of violence against women in their homes has occurred as a result of coronavirus and child marriage rates have increased.

This course will consider legal responses to domestic abuse and honour abuse (specifically forced marriage, child marriage and harmful traditional practices) in Scotland. It will consider the development of legal responses to these types of abuse, how effective such changes have been and the potential for further reform in these areas,


15 x 2-hour seminars (weekly)

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





Summative Assessment 1 40%


Length: 2000 words

Submitted: Week 8, Semester 1


A Blog Post, Research Poster or Vlog Presentation about a legal issue of Domestic or Honour Abuse. This can be a legal case, a report which indicates a problem or an issue which they have identified through another source. They must:


1. Outline the facts

2. Identify the relevant law applicable to this area

3. Analyse the success or failure of the law in this context

4. Consider if and how the relevant law aligns with international obligations

5. Consider possible change or reform which could be useful in this area



Summative Assessment 2. Assignment 60%


Timing: Week 10, semester 2

Word count - 4000 words


Students will be required to answer one question from a choice of two.

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

This course is designed to provide students with detailed knowledge of how the law responds to domestic and honour abuse, at both domestic and international level, including theoretical models which underpin current understandings of domestic and honour abuse. The course will consider both criminal law and private law responses to domestic and honour abuse and consider the bridging which has become increasingly apparent between these two types of legal responses. Students will be able to reflect on different approaches which have been adopted in different jurisdictions, consider the successes and limitations of these approaches, and will be asked to reflect on the influence that feminist activism has had in bringing about legal change in these areas.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


1. To analyse legal responses to abuse such as different approaches taken towards the criminalisation of domestic abuse, forced marriage and traditional harmful practices across the UK and other jurisdictions and the responses available under civil law.


2. Demonstrate knowledge of international obligations regarding prevention of violence against women and girls such as CEDAW and the Istanbul Convention. Prevention of violence against children such as UNCRC and violence against all persons such as The Palermo Protocol and the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.



3. To be able to identify the theoretical models which influence current understandings of domestic abuse and honour abuse and the key debates in these areas.


4. To develop an understanding of historical developments relating to women's rights and evaluate the role of feminist activism in legal change in these areas.


To be aware of current issues, such as those arising from Covid-19, and proposed reform in these areas.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.