Private Security and Domestic Violence : The Risks and Benefits of Private Security Companies Working With Victims of Domestic Violence book cover
1st Edition

Private Security and Domestic Violence
The Risks and Benefits of Private Security Companies Working With Victims of Domestic Violence

ISBN 9781138552623
Published August 11, 2019 by Routledge
164 Pages

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Book Description

Private companies are increasingly involved with the security of domestic violence victims. This has manifested in a number of ways, including private security companies working in partnership with domestic violence services, the proliferation of security-technology companies that seek a market within the domestic violence sector, and governments contracting private companies to provide security provision for victims. Private Security and Domestic Violence offers a world-first analysis of the risks and benefits of for-profit businesses engaging with a vulnerable and underprotected section of society.

Based on original data gathered in Australia, this book provides internationally relevant insights on the dangers but also the potential benefits of increasing private sector involvement with victims of domestic abuse. It offers a unique crossover of the literature on private security, crime prevention and domestic violence. Aimed at scholars, policymakers, and frontline workers within the domestic violence sector, Private Security and Domestic Violence documents experimental new collaborations and partnerships between the private, community and governmental spheres and makes a case for the suitable regulatory solutions to be put in place to successfully manage private security involvement with domestic violence victims.

By outlining the risks and the benefits of this new form of security provision and detailing a potential model of regulation, this book offers a pathway for improving how we provide for a chronically underprotected population. It will be of interest to criminology and criminal justice students and researchers engaged in studies of abuse, domestic violence, violent crime, victims and victimology, crime prevention, and security.

Table of Contents

Introduction;  1. Why now? The recent emergence of private security companies into the field of domestic violence;  2. Case study examples of security companies working with victims of domestic violence in Australia;  3. The damaging impacts of unethical and incompetent private security companies;  4. The risks and benefits of the ‘technical solutions’ offered by private security companies;  5. The benefits for victims and domestic violence services of using private security companies;  6. How should private security companies be regulated for the optimal benefit of victims of domestic violence?;  Conclusion: the future of private security company involvement with victims of domestic violence

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Diarmaid Harkin is an Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Deakin University. His current active research interests include the use of private security companies in the context of domestic violence, the consumer spyware industry, and the challenges of cyber-policing.


"The role of private security in partnering with domestic violence services to help keep survivors of violence safe has grown quickly with limited oversight. Drawing on interviews with stakeholders, Harkin’s accessible, timely and original analysis outlines the challenges, risks and benefits and recommends an innovative, yet practical, pathway forward."

Professor Heather Douglas, TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland, Australia

"Dr Harkin’s book is unique in both the domestic violence and private security fields. The world is desperately seeking solutions to the entrenched problem of violence against women and children. The book provides an honest and systematic analysis of the scope for prevention through the application of security industry services, with a key proviso regarding appropriate regulation of the industry. This is an essential source for anyone interested in making a real difference in this crucial area of policy and practice."

Tim Prenzler, Professor of Criminology, University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia

"Dr Harkin has captured what occurs when non-profit, ethically driven, safety-first domestic violence services intersect with the for-profit security industry. Sometimes it works really well, and sometimes it’s really dangerous. Finally in one place, a confirmation of what many professional domestic and family violence practitioners have been saying: technology can help survivors but it shouldn’t be done by unregulated "cowboys" and it’s not a "silver bullet". This is an invaluable book for Australian government policy makers and the domestic and family violence sector."  

Karen Bentley, National Director, WESNET (the Women’s Services Network) Inc., Australia