Do survivors feel protected by family violence legislation? Reflections on the Family Violence Act 2016 (ACT) from those with lived experience

Journal article


Easteal, Patricia, Bartels, Lorana, Dodd, Shannon and White, Jessica. (2021). Do survivors feel protected by family violence legislation? Reflections on the Family Violence Act 2016 (ACT) from those with lived experience. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. pp. 1-24. https://doi.org/10.1177/08862605211035885
AuthorsEasteal, Patricia, Bartels, Lorana, Dodd, Shannon and White, Jessica
Abstract

Civil protection order legislation is the primary mechanism in each of Australia’s eight jurisdictions’ system-based response to domestic and family violence (DFV). There are many differences across the states’ and territories’ legislation, with each amended numerous times since their inception in the early 1980s. The latter is exemplified by the new Australian Capital Territory (ACT) legislative framework, the Family Violence Act 2016 (ACT) (the Act), which was introduced in 2017, following a number of high-profile intimate partner homicides. The aim of the Act was to better protect those who fear, experience or witness family violence (FV). This article reflects on whether that aim is being achieved, from the perspective of those with lived FV experience. We conducted in-depth interviews with eight people who identified as having lived experience (LE) with the Act. The open-ended questions were designed to elicit their observations, experiences, and suggestions concerning the black letter provisions and their implementation. The theme of safety emerged strongly as issues were revealed, including waiting for orders to be served, their duration, the exclusion of children, limits of the definition of FV, such as the omission of cultural and technology-facilitated abuse, as well as inadequate interagency cooperation and information sharing. Their reflections highlight that, while some improvements have indeed been made, there often remains a lack of protection for victims. Drawing on these experiences, we put forward recommendations for amendments to the current regime, which may further promote victim and community safety and reiterate the importance of listening to the voices of those at the coalface of experiencing FV.

Keywordsdomestic violence; legal interventions; family violence; protection orders; Australia
Year2021
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Journal citationpp. 1-24
PublisherSAGE Publications
ISSN0886-2605
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/08862605211035885
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85112252183
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range1-24
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online09 Aug 2021
Publication process dates
Deposited15 Aug 2022
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