Regulating bereavement : inquests, family pressure and the gate keeping of suicide statistics

Tait, Gordon & Carpenter, Belinda (2013) Regulating bereavement : inquests, family pressure and the gate keeping of suicide statistics. Proceedings of the 2nd INternational Conference on Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 1, pp. 194-201.

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Abstract

This study of English Coronial practice raises a number of questions, not only regarding state investigations of suicide, but also of the role of the Coroner itself. Following observations at over 20 inquests into possible suicides, and in-depth interviews with six Coroners, three main issue emerged: first, there exists considerable slippage between different Coroners over which deaths are likely to be classified as suicide; second, the high standard of proof required, and immense pressure faced by Coroners from family members at inquest to reach any verdict other than suicide, can significantly depress likely suicide rates; and finally, Coroners feel no professional obligation, either individually or collectively, to contribute to the production of consistent and useful social data regarding suicide—arguably rendering comparative suicide statistics relatively worthless. These issues lead, ultimately, to a more important question about the role we expect Coroners to play within social governance, and within an effective, contemporary democracy.

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ID Code: 61392
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: suicide, inquest, coroner, engalnd
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > CRIMINOLOGY (160200)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > CRIMINOLOGY (160200) > Courts and Sentencing (160203)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Crime & Justice Research Centre
Current > Schools > School of Cultural & Professional Learning
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Justice
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 (please consult the authors).
Deposited On: 17 Jul 2013 07:08
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2013 09:17

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