Continuing the national conversation on women’s safety
ANROWS Notepad | 8 September 2021
ANROWS GRANTS ROUND NOW OPEN
ANROWS funding available for sexual harassment research projects
“In the National Inquiry [into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces], we came up with a view that sexual harassment is both an impediment to women’s safety and a major barrier to their economic security.” Kate Jenkins, Sexual Discrimination Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission
At a critical juncture when women’s safety is being discussed nationally, ANROWS has this week launched its 2021–2024 Sexual Harassment Research Program. Coinciding with the National Summit on Women’s Safety 2021, this funding opportunity builds upon the national momentum to address the problem of sexual violence (including sexual harassment) and its impacts, which are largely borne by women.
In response to Recommendation 4 of the Respect@Work report, ANROWS’s 2021–2024 Sexual Harassment Research Program will build the evidence base on sexual harassment in the Australian context and contribute to the development of policies and programs for workplaces, public spaces and online. The research program aims to expand understanding of the sexual violence continuum, demonstrating the nature of sexual harassment as a form of sexual violence as well as responding to identified research gaps under Australia’s National Research Agenda to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (ANRA) 2020–2022. Selected research projects will support workplaces, policymakers and justice reform to address cultural and systemic change to effectively address and reduce sexual harassment in an Australian context.
ANROWS is now calling for grant applications from researchers across Australia for high-quality research projects that provide a robust evidence base for policy decisions in the area of sexual harassment.
Potential projects could involve risk and protective factors associated with sexual harassment in different contexts and settings, and for different populations. We are also seeking research on the nature of victimisation of sexual harassment, particularly for groups vulnerable to sexual harassment, such as school-aged workers; the impacts (especially long-term) of workplace sexual harassment on individuals, businesses and society, including economic costs; and effective strategies to prevent and respond to sexual harassment in the workplace as well as other settings, including evaluations of current reforms, regulations, industry and workplace initiatives.
Grant applications will be accepted until 11:59pm (AEDT) 11 October 2021.
NATIONAL SUMMIT ON WOMEN’S SAFETY 2021
Shaping the next National Plan to end violence against women and their children
Today’s edition of Notepad comes to you after two big days of contributing to the national conversation on ending violence against women and children at the National Summit on Women’s Safety 2021. ANROWS evidence was kept front and centre with our CEO, Padma Raman PSM being the only invitee to chair a session. Taking place on the first day of the summit, this session was focused upon the Government response to the Respect@Work report, and featured Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins.
The impetus for a new National Plan focused firmly on action was set by a standout Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander panel featuring Professor Marcia Langton AO and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, June Oscar AO. These experts were joined by ANROWS board director Ed Mosby and CEO of the Healing Foundation, Fiona Cornforth. Cornforth spoke to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with experiences of domestic and family violence, and celebrated the success of our joint evidence-based workforce capacity-building initiative, WorkUP Queensland.
The summit commenced late last week with a series of roundtables. ANROWS CEO Padma Raman PSM brought her expertise and ANROWS research evidence to bear on how we might reform the service system to better meet the needs of women and children experiencing violence, and the way we might improve criminal justice responses relating to violence against women. The summit builds upon a consultation process run by Monash University. The conversations involved in this process have identified issues such as technology-facilitated abuse, coercive control and sexual violence, among others, as priorities to address in the next National Plan to end violence against women and their children, and these issues remained as focal points during the summit.
A delegate’s statement is forthcoming. You can view the program via the summit’s website.
ECONOMIC JUSTICE AUSTRALIA: NEW REPORT ON THE WAY
“Debt, duress and dob-ins”
In conjunction with academic researchers at the University of Wollongong, the University of Sydney and the University of Queensland, Economic Justice Australia (EJA) has examined the operation of social security law and Centrelink debt investigation and recovery practices for women experiencing DFV.
“Debt, duress and dob-ins: Centrelink compliance processes and domestic violence” draws on data generated through the new research partnership while building on EJA’s 2018 report, “How well does Australia’s social security system support victims of family and domestic violence?”. The full report will be published later in 2021.
The data reveal how victims and survivors of DFV can be unfairly held responsible for social security debts and face the risk of criminal prosecution, including in situations where their actions leading to the debt’s accrual were made as a direct result of an abuser’s threats, physical violence and/or coercion. Some victims and survivors have been left with significant debts, and others have been jailed as a result of these debts, while perpetrators have walked free.
Leanne Ho, EJA’s CEO, said, “Social security must be central to any discussion of women’s safety given the reality that socio-economic inequality and discrimination are key drivers of higher rates of violence against women, and that supporting victims’ economic independence and security is key to ending family and domestic violence.”
The interim “Debt, duress and dob-ins” report was released on Monday 6 September, and can be accessed via EJA’s website.
In 2019, ANROWS published a report, “Domestic violence, social security and the couple rule”, based on Dr Lyndal Sleep’s research exploring the experiences of women who appealed Centrelink decisions about “the couple rule” in cases where domestic violence was involved. This rule, interrogated both in the EJA report and in Dr Sleep’s research, is used by Centrelink to determine whether a person should be considered as part of a couple for social security purposes, and leads to difficulties for women including the risk of poverty when leaving an abusive relationship, or the perpetuation of financial and systems abuse on the part of the perpetrator. The ANROWS report can be accessed through the ANROWS website.
ANROWS WEBINAR RECORDING
Systems, access, evidence:
Migrant and refugee women experiencing domestic and family violence
What we are seeing is that there is a persistent refusal to put women’s safety first. If we just tinker around the edges, we are never going to change the inherent concern that women hold around uncertainty and fear … Temporary visa holders, in particular, hold higher rates of DFV. They don’t go to anyone … We need to address how [the migration] system actually shuts women out. Associate Professor Marie Segrave, Monash University
Over recent years there has been increasing advocacy and research highlighting the diverse experiences migrant and refugee women have of DFV. In the most recent ANROWS webinar, an expert panel discussed the ways in which engagement with the various systems responding to violence against women is a critical element of addressing DFV in all its forms, and the discussion generated a very positive response.
Attendees thanked the panel for its “expertise and insight”, wholeheartedly agreeing that “systemic barriers remain” to migrant and refugee women accessing services and that “we need a systemic approach to reduce violence against women”. One attendee “loved the always timely reminder about gatekeeping systems reinforcing the misogynistic view that women will lie about abuse for financial/status gain”. If you missed it, the recording is now available through the ANROWS website.
AUDIT: POLICE RESPONSES TO DOMESTIC AND FAMILY VIOLENCE
The Audit Office of New South Wales is welcoming contributions to their assessment of the effectiveness of the NSW Police Force’s responses to domestic and family violence. The audit will respond to the following questions:
- Does the NSW Police Force effectively conduct capability planning for responding to domestic and family violence and supporting victim-survivors?
- Has the NSW Police Force effectively resourced its approach to respond to domestic and family violence and support victim-survivors with the required capability?
- Is the effectiveness of domestic and family violence policing and NSW Police Force support to victim-survivors improving over time?
Contributions are confidential and will be accepted until 30 September 2021.
LISTENING TO THE VOICES OF VICTIMS: THE “VOICES” PROJECT SURVEY
There is still time to complete the VOICES project survey. This project offers you an opportunity to share your experiences and perspectives, and to join 450 other women who have already had their voices heard. If you live in Australia, are a woman aged 18 and over, have ever been afraid of an intimate partner, we would like to hear from you.
For more information, and to take the survey, visit the Safer Families website. The survey closes on 1 September 2021.
BREACHES OF FAMILY LAW PARENTING ORDERS: SURVEY
The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) has been commissioned by ANROWS to undertake research in relation to the compliance with and enforcement of family law parenting orders. The research will involve multiple studies, including a survey of parents and carers.
Parents or carers who have had family law parenting orders made in the past five years are invited to participate in this survey. We also encourage you to share this information with your client base if you feel that it would be of interest to them.
This research will help us to understand whether parents comply with parenting orders, how the enforcement process in the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) operates, and how well it works. The survey is open to those residing in all states and territories bar Western Australia. For more information on the project, please visit the AIFS website.
QUEENSLAND WOMEN’S STRATEGY: CONSULTATION PERIOD NOW OPEN
Queenslanders are invited to share their thoughts on the successor strategy to the Queensland Women’s Strategy 2016–21. The new strategy aims to promote and protect women’s rights and wellbeing, and ensure their full social and economic participation in society.
The 2016–21 Strategy outlines a vision of respect for women and embraces gender equality. The Queensland Government is proud of the work done under the Strategy, and hopes to build on this progress with the development of its successor.
Community feedback will be incorporated into the new strategy, which is slated for development by the end of 2021. To find out more and have your say, visit the Queensland Government website. Submissions close on Friday 8 October.
New research and resources
Books and reports
Harris, B., & Woodlock, D. (2021). “For my safety”: Experiences of technology-facilitated abuse among women with intellectual disability or cognitive disability. eSafety Commissioner. https://www.esafety.gov.au/about-us/research/technology-facilitated-abuse-women-intellectual-or-cognitive-disability
Breckenridge, J., Singh, S., Lyons, G., & valentine, k. (2021). Organisational policies and responses to employee disclosures of domestic and family violence and sexual assault: What constitutes best practice? Evidence Base: A Journal of Evidence Reviews in Key Policy Areas, 1–38. https://doi.org/10.21307/eb-2021-002
Brunton, R., & Dryer, R. (2021). Sexual violence and Australian women: A longitudinal analysis of psychosocial and behavioral outcomes. Social Science & Medicine, 114334. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.114334
Cameron, J., Humphreys, C., Kothari, A., & Hegarty, K. (2021). Creating an action plan to advance knowledge translation in a domestic violence research network: A deliberative dialogue. Evidence & Policy: A Journal of Research, Debate and Practice, 17(3), 467–485. https://doi.org/10.1332/174426421X16106634806152
Gang, D., Loff, B., Naylor, B., & Kirkman, M. (2021). Opening pathways to restorative justice: Analysis of parliamentary debates on sex crime law reform in Victoria, Australia. Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society. https://doi.org/10.1093/sp/jxab019
Guthrie, R., & Babic, A. (2021). Employers’ potential liability for family and domestic violence: An Australian overview. Economic and Labour Relations Review. https://doi.org/10.1177/10353046211024332
Hing, N., O’Mullan, C., Nuske, E., Breen, H., Mainey, L., Taylor, A., Greer, N., Jenkinson, R., Thomas, A., Lee, J., & Jackson, A. (2021). Gambling-related intimate partner violence against women: A grounded theory model of individual and relationship determinants. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. https://doi.org/10.1177/08862605211037425
Seymour, K., Natalier, K., & Wendt, S. (2021). Changed men? Men talking about violence and change in domestic and family violence perpetrator intervention programs. Men and Masculinities. https://doi.org/10.1177/1097184×211038998
Smith, D. E., Wright, M. T., Pham, T. H., & Ibrahim, J. E. (2021). Evaluation of an online course for prevention of unwanted sexual behaviour in residential aged care services—A pilot study. International Journal of Older People Nursing, e12412. https://doi.org/10.1111/opn.12412
Taft, A., Young, F., Hegarty, K., Yelland, J., Mazza, D., Boyle, D., Norman, R., Garcia-Moreno, C., Nguyen, C. D., Li, X., Pokharel, B., Allen, M., & Feder, G. (2021). HARMONY: A pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial of a culturally competent systems intervention to prevent and reduce domestic violence among migrant and refugee families in general practice: Study protocol. BMJ Open, 11(7), e046431. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-046431
In the media
These survivors of domestic and sexual violence say they’ve been excluded from the national action plan—SBS The Feed
Besmirching the “good bloke”: Rape survivor speaks out—The Age
“But the story gets worse”: What happened after a police employee said she’d been raped—SMH
“Every time I retell the story of my sexual assault, the bit that upsets me the most is what happened afterwards”: Business leaders speak up on workplace sexual misconduct—Women’s Agenda
“I felt lighter”: Restorative justice gives sex crime survivors a different way forward—SMH
Nearly 3 million Australians have survived sexual violence—SMH
New QR code cards in NSW combat technology-related domestic violence, services say—ABC News
New research finds Indigenous-led early education key to preventing family violence—NIT News
Technology increasingly used to “victimise and control” women with intellectual disability—ABC News
What happens to the children of women killed by men?— Guardian
Women risk being left behind in COVID-19 recovery as Australia’s gender pay gap widen—SBS News
Will the merger of the Family Court improve it?—ABC Life Matters
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