It is a common perception that violent crime is on the increase and social surveys record a growing fear of victimisation among the public. Yet not all violence is criminalised, and much criminal violence still goes unreported. Punishing Violence examines the series of decisions - by victims, police officers, prosecutors and courts - which determine whether or not violent behaviour is criminalised. Antonia Cretney and Gwynn Davis examine the relationships underpinning violence, the reasons for violent acts and the factors militating against successful court prosecutions. In doing so, they provide an authoritative account of the reality of assault and identify a serious dislocation between the purposes of victims and the purposes of the justice system in the treatment of violent crime.