Ending violence in one generation
ANROWS Notepad | 17 November 2022
NEW NATIONAL PLAN LAUNCHES
A line in the sand
“It is time to transform our pain into action. There can be no more excuses – that it is too hard, we don’t know what to do, it’s too complex.”
—Members of the Independent Collective of Survivors, National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022–2032
This past month we saw the launch of the new National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022–2032 as well as the release of the federal budget, which included significant support for initiatives to help end gender-based violence.
The new National Plan is a powerful call to action. It opens with the voices of victims and survivors stating: “It is time.” That profound urgency is echoed in the driving target of the plan, to “end gender-based violence in one generation”.
Ending violence against women and children in one generation is very ambitious and bold but I think we felt that we needed to have an ambitious target – and one that recognises that everyone has a role to play. (Padma Raman PSM, ANROWS CEO)
As Ms Raman said in an interview with the ABC, the goal is ambitious. It is bold. And it is needed. Research shows us that. A recent ANROWS study found that rates of sexual violence were much higher than previously thought, with 51 per cent of young women reporting having experienced sexual violence. Half of all Australians will experience technology-facilitated abuse in their lifetimes, with women significantly more likely to face this form of abuse from men and from current or former partners. Children who have been impacted by the trauma of domestic and family violence can face long-term impacts on their health and wellbeing.
The evidence supports ambitious and bold action. As the Hon Amanda Rishworth, Minister for Social Services, said in her address to the National Press Club on 3 November, the target of “one generation” is about drawing “a significant line in the sand”:
Our goal to end violence against women and children in one generation means that we don’t want children born today, and our children’s children, to be having to deal with the same issues and rates of prevalence.
A commitment to ending violence in one generation means paying close attention to the intergenerational nature of its impacts. We know the impacts of violence on children’s development, health and wellbeing continue into adulthood, and we have seen how generational cycles of violence unfold. An ANROWS research project, “Adolescent family violence in Australia: A national study of prevalence, use of and exposure to violence, and support needs for young people”, found that one in two young people who experience domestic and family violence during childhood go on to use violence in the home during adolescence. Of those who report using violence in the home during adolescence, almost nine in 10 report childhood experiences of domestic and family violence and other forms of maltreatment.
We have also seen how childhood violence can affect rates of revictimisation in adulthood. As mentioned above, in a recent ANROWS report, women who had experienced sexual violence during childhood were found to be approximately 50 per cent more likely to have experienced recent violence. These findings demonstrate a clear need to support children early, and to recognise their recovery needs.
In the first National Plan, the language “women and their children” was used. In this next stage, the language has changed to reflect what we know about children’s experiences of violence, and needs after violence, independent of those of their mothers: it is a plan to end violence against “women and children”. Professor Kate Fitz-Gibbon and Professor Silke Myer, writing about the release of the National Plan, noted that children had for too long been seen simply as extensions of their caregivers:
This can make children invisible in relevant risk assessment; assessors may miss the specific risk to children’s safety and wellbeing in the context of domestic and family violence. This can lead to preventable harm, injury or even homicide and suicide.
This shift represents a new stage in work to identify and address the impacts of violence on the lives of children. Supporting children as victims in their own right, particularly with the services they require, is a crucial element of ending gender-based violence in one generation.
There are several other key developments in this new National Plan, and we encourage everyone to read it. These include a standalone First Nations National Plan, to be developed out of a dedicated action plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family safety; a focus on intersectional experiences; and a strong focus on perpetrator accountability through prevention and early intervention strategies. As Minister Rishworth stated, “The responsibility to stop using violence belongs to the person using it. Our response cannot be though just to lock them up and throw away the key. We need more nuanced approaches.”
Focusing our efforts on prevention and perpetrator accountability recognises the importance of centralising the voices of victims and survivors, as they call – repeatedly and urgently – to be believed, to respected, and to be released from carrying the weight of responsibility for a culture-wide crisis:
Abuse and violence is a problem for victims, but it is not the victims’ problem. Genuine change begins with a willingness to listen. We must stop protecting perpetrators with our silence, and through inaction. We must be willing to sit in discomfort. It is time to be brave. (Members of the Independent Collective of Survivors, National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022–2032)
At ANROWS, one of our priorities is improving our understanding of patterns of perpetration and violent behaviours to better inform prevention and intervention policies and practices. The new plan represents an ambitious shift in the national landscape, and we welcome the opportunity to work towards ending gender-based violence in one generation.
16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM
Unite to end gender-based violence
On Friday 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, we will be joining in the annual “16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence” global campaign. Started by activists at the inaugural Women’s Global Leadership Institute over 30 years ago, the campaign continues to be coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL). The United Nations supports the initiative and runs their own “UNiTE by 2030” campaign.
This year’s theme from UN Women is “UNITE! Activism to end violence against women and girls,” while the CWGL will continue with its multi-year campaign, “Ending femicide”.
ANROWS will be highlighting some of our research projects across the 16 days, wrapping up on Human Rights Day on Saturday 10 December. We’ll be sharing key facts, quotes and findings from our suite of publications, because this year we want to use our platform to draw attention to some of the innovative and impactful research that is contributing to our ever-growing evidence base in Australia.
During 16 Days, ANROWS will be launching two reports from a research project led by Professor Kelsey Hegarty of the University of Melbourne. On Thursday 8 December, ANROWS will host a webinar that will discuss findings from the project, “Transforming responses to intimate partner and sexual violence: Listening to the voices of victims, perpetrators and services”. Keep an eye on our social media or watch for email updates to register.
You can follow our campaign on Twitter and LinkedIn.
FOURTH ACTION PLAN RESEARCH INTO PARENTING ORDERS PUBLISHED
System for enforcing parenting orders is ineffective, research finds
“We spend time drafting orders that are not flexible because giving perpetrators any room to move often means they’ll make things really difficult,” explained Gabrielle Craig from Women’s Legal Service NSW, in our latest webinar. The complexity of ensuring parenting orders that can cater to children and young people’s changing needs over time while remaining robust enough to prevent systems abuse, was a key topic of conversation at the event, which was attended by 845 people.
“There is a need for professionals to be able to identify the families for whom flexibility would be a curse, and those for whom it would be a benefit,” said Dr Rae Kaspiew, of the Australian Institute of Family Studies. Dr Kaspiew is one of the lead researchers on the “Compliance with and enforcement of family law parenting orders” project, and a joint author on the final report which the webinar was launching.
This study, commissioned under the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022 and funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services, was produced in partnership with the Australian Institute of Family Studies. It was designed to examine the drivers of non-compliance with parenting orders and the operation of the parenting order enforcement regime in Australia. One of key findings was that children and young people are not given sufficient opportunity to participate in post-separation decision-making that directly affects them in terms of their care and living arrangements. “Sixteen per cent of parents and carers identified that non-compliance in their case related to the child refusing to comply,” said Dr Rachel Carson, another lead researcher on the study.
The research also found that a majority (56%) of parents and carers who reported the appointment of an independent children’s lawyer (ICL) also reported that the ICL did not speak with the children. “Children are let down by their independent children’s lawyers. This is what the research is showing and some children have ended up in situations where they are in danger”, said National Children’s Commissioner Anne Hollonds to Dr Jenna Price at the Canberra Times. Our webinar panel highlighted variation in practice in terms of ICL engagement with children – “but the statistic wasn’t surprising to those who work in our service, we hear fairly regularly that the ICL hasn’t engaged with the child,” explained Gabrielle Craig.
Donna Smith, from Legal Aid NSW, outlined what good practice looks like as an ICL, explaining that “children also suffer from litigation fatigue” and are aware that they are “the centre of the conflict”. Dr Heidi Saunders, a clinical psychologist at Carinity Talera, fleshed out the impacts on children of inappropriate parenting orders and prolonged litigation, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which added “absolute disruption to routine on an already disrupted kind of life for them, moving between homes, [including] one that’s potentially unsafe”.
Catch up on the full conversation with our webinar recording or join the researchers at an upcoming CFCA webinar entitled, “Parenting orders: Research on compliance and enforcement and insights from practice” which will take place on 30 November 2022 at 1:00 pm.
SUPPORT NEEDS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE USING ADOLESCENT FAMILY VIOLENCE
Young people want safe spaces, people to talk to and supportive responses
Recent ANROWS research focusing on young people’s use of adolescent family violence (AFV) has found that there are limited avenues currently in place for young people using AFV and their families to access support, and outlined the support needs identified by this cohort.
The research report, Adolescent family violence in Australia: A national study of service and support needs for young people who use family violence, is the second report to be produced out of the “Adolescent family violence in Australia” project, led by Professor Kate Fitz-Gibbon at Monash University.
By engaging directly with young people through a survey of more than 5,000 16- to 20-year-olds, the research team identified that the key support needs of young people using AFV are safe spaces and places, people to talk to, and education for their parents on the impact of abusive behaviours. When they disclose their use of AFV to another person, young people are looking for appropriate, consistent, supportive and validating responses.
The research was picked up by multiple national media outlets, including the Canberra Times and Women’s Agenda, which acknowledged and broadcast the need to provide trauma-informed support to young people using AFV, especially in the context of intergenerational trauma: as Jenna Price noted, “violence begets violence”.
Responding to the research, ANROWS CEO Padma Raman said, “Young people need to know there are safe support mechanisms in place for them. They need to feel heard and supported when talking about violence at home, including their own actions. We can’t expect them to make changes to their own behaviour if they are unsafe.”
The research findings lend further weight to the need, outlined in the “early intervention” domain of the new National Plan, to address adolescent violence in family settings – particularly in light of the first report’s finding that the majority of the young people who had used AFV (89%) were themselves victims and survivors of violence.
A companion resource capturing the findings of both reports is also now available.
Did you know?
The National Plan’s attention to perpetrator accountability through prevention and early intervention strategies will build on important work begun by ANROWS as part of our Perpetrator Interventions Research Stream. ANROWS’s Insights paper, “Interventions for perpetrators of domestic, family and sexual violence in Australia”, outlines keys findings and recommendations from that suite of research.FIND OUT MORE
HOW TO SUPPORT CLIENTS EXPOSED TO TECHNOLOGY-FACILITATED COERCIVE CONTROL
The Australian Institute of Family Studies, Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) is offering a one-hour webinar on supporting clients who have experienced technology-facilitated coercive control on 7 December. The webinar will draw on the latest research and cover what technology-facilitated coercive control looks like in practice, provide examples of the different ways that victims and survivors might experience technology-facilitated coercive control, and suggest strategies for face-to-face and telehealth practice.
RESPECT@WORK: UNPACKING THE NEW LEGISLATION FOR EMPLOYERS
The latest Respect@Work Bill is expected to become law any day now, putting the onus on employers to proactively prevent sexual harassment and create a safe workplace culture. This free online event unpacks the significance of the Respect@Work: Sexual Harassment National Inquiry Report and the implications of the new legislation for employers and organisations.
Future Women’s Head of Research and Insights, Ruby Leahy Gatfield, will deliver a short presentation, before a panel of experts – including our CEO – unpack the new legislation in conversation with gender equality advocate and Diversity and Inclusion Director, Tarang Chawla.
The webinar will be held on Tuesday 29 November.
SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF LGBTQ YOUNG PEOPLE
The #SpeakingOut@Work online national survey is open and we encourage you to share this important research with your networks. The #SpeakingOut@Work study is investigating the sexual harassment of LGBTQ young people (aged 14 to 30) in the workplace and in workplace training sites. The findings from this survey will inform workplace policy, practice and targeted resources to address and prevent sexual harassment of LGBTQ young people and to make a positive difference to their working and workplace experiences. This is an ANROWS-funded research project.
New research and resources
This edition of Notepad features a range of new Australian research across the ANRA 2020–2022 topic areas of sexual violence, health responses and financial abuse.
Frequent ANROWS collaborator Professor Kelsey Hegarty co-authored a research paper reporting the largest study of DFV against health professionals. The paper found that “nurses, midwives and carers are frontline responders to women and children who have experienced violence, with some research suggesting that health professionals themselves may report a higher incidence of IPV in their personal lives compared to the community”. This research is open-access and available through the ANROWS Digital Library.
In addition, new research co-authored by Professor Harry Blagg was recently published, titled Law, Culture and Decolonisation: The Perspectives of Aboriginal Elders on Family Violence in Australia. The paper is based on qualitative research which took place in six locations in northern Australia where traditional patterns of Aboriginal Law and Culture are robust. Access to this paper can be requested through the ANROWS Digital Library.
Professor Blagg was the principal chief investigator on the ANROWS research project, Understanding the role of Law and Culture in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities in responding to and preventing family violence.
You can view this report and the list of new research, along with over 10,000 records of sector-relevant resources and research, in the ANROWS Digital Library.
The effects of coercive control laws on Indigenous women and families [webinar]—Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse
Police body-worn cameras in domestic and family violence responses: Merits, risks and impacts [webinar]—Monash Gender Family Violence Prevention Centre
Books and reports
McNicol, E., Fitz-Gibbon, K., & Brewer, S. (2022). From workplace sabotage to embedded supports: Examining the impact of domestic and family violence across Australian workplaces. Monash University. https://doi.org/10.26180/21268686
Rodgers, J., Spiranovic, C., Hudson, C., Barnes, A., Winter, R., Bartkowiak-Théron, I., Asquith, N., Cashman, K., Dewson, C., Norris, K., & Stanford, S. (2022). Sexual violence in Southern Tasmania: Research report for sexual assault support service Tasmania. University of Tasmania and Sexual Assault Support Service. https://www.sass.org.au/sites/default/files/resources/sexual-violence-southern-tasmania-research-report-final.pdf
Spinks, B., Guerin, T., & Ambani, P. (2022). Best practice model unveiled to help organisations supporting people impacted by financial abuse. Consulting & Implementation Services. https://rlc.org.au/news-and-media/news/best-practice-model-unveiled-help-organisations-supporting-people-impacted-financial-abuse
Blagg, H., Hovane, V., Tulich, T., Raye, D., May, S., & Worrigal, T. (2022). Law, culture and decolonisation: The perspectives of Aboriginal Elders on family violence in Australia. Social & Legal Studies, 31(4), 535–558. https://doi.org/10.1177/09646639211046134
Collins, M., Crowe, M., Cleak, H., Kallianis, V., & Braddy, L. (2022). The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients experiencing family violence presenting to an Australian health service. The British Journal of Social Work. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcac184
Lynch, J., Stone, L., & Victoire, A. (2022). Recognising and responding to domestic and family violence in general practice. Australian Journal for General Practitioners, 51, 863–869. https://www1.racgp.org.au/ajgp/2022/november/recognising-and-responding-to-domestic-and-family
McLindon, E., Diemer, K., Kuruppu, J., Spiteri-Staines, A., & Hegarty, K. (2022). “You can’t swim well if there is a weight dragging you down”: Cross-sectional study of intimate partner violence, sexual assault and child abuse prevalence against Australian nurses, midwives and carers. BMC Public Health, 22(1), 1731. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-022-14045-4
Orr, C., Kelty, E., Fisher, C., O’Donnell, M., Glauert, R., & Preen, D. B. (2022). The lasting impact of family and domestic violence on neonatal health outcomes. Birth. https://doi.org/10.1111/birt.12682
Sammut, D., Ferrer, L., Gorham, E., Hegarty, K., Kuruppu, J., Salvo, F. L., & Bradbury-Jones, C. (2022). Healthcare students’ and educators’ views on the integration of gender-based violence education into the curriculum: A qualitative inquiry in three countries. Journal of Family Violence. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-022-00441-2
In the media
Could the Senate inquiry into murdered Indigenous women and children prevent future deaths?—UNSW Newsroom
What can we expect from Australia’s first domestic violence commissioner Micaela Cronin?—ABC News
Inside Qantas pilot’s alleged sexual harassment and gender discrimination—news.com.au
Melbourne Cup day usually sees an increase in domestic violence — and alcohol is just one of many complex reasons why—ABC News
Media ignore women’s diverse backgrounds when reporting on family violence: new research—The Conversation
First Nations women call for change in domestic violence policing after Four Corners revelations—ABC News
How many more? The crisis of the murdered and missing First Nations women—Four Corners
The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP, Minister for Social Services, Address to the NPC—National Press Club Australia
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