Responding to sexual violence and making the law work for women
ANROWS Notepad | 10 August 2021
EVIDENCE IN ACTION
Disclosures of sexual violence
“The physical, emotional and social impacts [of sexual violence] can be brutal and crippling, and the damage is not confined to the victim.” Associate Professor David Wells, Monash University
Given the impacts of sexual violence outlined by Associate Professor Wells above, it is crucial that frontline workers who are in a position to respond to disclosures of sexual violence know how to do so in a way designed to reduce further victimisation and re-traumatisation. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2016 Personal Safety Survey, four out of 10 women who sought advice or support about sexual violence did so through their GP or other health professional.
Monash University has developed a course to train hundreds of health workers in identifying risk factors for sexual violence and responding appropriately to disclosures. Associate Professor Lyndal Bugeja met with ANROWS in December 2020 as part of the consultation process, and former ANROWS CEO Dr Heather Nancarrow provided endorsement for the course concept.
Frequent ANROWS collaborator Professor Kelsey Hegarty noted that despite the fact that general practitioners are likely to be seeing a victim and survivor of sexual violence roughly once a week, how to respond to disclosures of this nature is not commonly covered during medical training. “Sexual violence is an area that perhaps has not had enough attention in training of doctors and nurses. It’s still very hidden; the disclosure rate is not very high. And yet, GPs are the highest professional group disclosed to about sexual violence. So it’s really important that GPs and primary care nurses get training in this.”
The first unit of the course begins this month, with a further two units to follow over the next 18 months.
DOMESTIC ABUSE: HARNESSING LEARNING INTERNATIONALLY UNDER COVID-19 (THE DAHLIA-19 STUDY)
Innovative practice in DFV provision during COVID-19
Since December 2020, ANROWS has been working in partnership with the University of Melbourne on DAHLIA-19, an international research study exploring domestic and family violence service provision – and in particular, innovative practice – in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The research is taking place in Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa, and is funded by the UKRI’s Economic and Social Research Council.
Across the world, the risks of experiencing DFV have increased due to restrictions put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. While a number of policy initiatives and innovative practices have emerged to address these heightened risks, not much is known about their impact. As part of the DAHLIA-19 study, ANROWS and the University of Melbourne have collected and analysed information on Australian responses to DFV, both directly and through additional relevant sectors. The study will amalgamate findings from all four countries to influence approaches to future lockdowns in terms of responses for victims and survivors, children and perpetrators living with DFV.
Findings from the study will be disseminated through a webinar series and a collection of briefing papers, with a final report scheduled for release by January 2022.
DR NANCARROW SPEAKS ONE LAST TIME AS ANROWS CEO
Making the law work for women
At her final speaking engagement as the ANROWS chief executive officer, Dr Heather Nancarrow brought her expertise to bear on how we might reform the law to work for women. Hosted by UTS International Law Research Cluster and the Centre for Social Justice & Inclusion, and supported by the Academy of the Social Sciences of Australia, this popular webinar was hosted by the Hon Verity Firth, Executive Director Social Justice, at UTS.
Pragmatic about the inevitability of an offence of coercive control in Australia, Dr Nancarrow explained, “I think we’re beyond the point of debating whether we should or shouldn’t have it. I think a number of jurisdictions have essentially committed to an offence of coercive control, but we really do need to hear, listen and work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women so that we don’t have the unintended consequences that they fear and that we must learn from the past.”
Systems, access, evidence:
Migrant and refugee women experiencing domestic and family violence
Over recent years there has been increasing advocacy and research highlighting the diverse experiences migrant and refugee women have of DFV. The evidence base documents important issues related to access and equity across the various systems responding to violence against women.
In this ANROWS webinar, to be held on Monday 30 August, an expert panel will discuss the ways in which engagement with these systems is a critical element of addressing DFV in all its forms. The panel will also unpack what the evidence suggests for working towards an ambitious and innovative national agenda to secure the safety of all women.
The discussion will be facilitated by Padma Raman (ANROWS) with a panel including Dr Sana Ashraf (Harmony Alliance: Migrant and Refugee Women for Change), Ela Stewart (inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence), Associate Professor Marie Segrave (Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre; Monash Migration and Inclusion Centre) and Kylie McGrath (Refugee and Immigration Legal Service). There will also be a live Q&A.
Registrations are now open 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.
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. You can take the survey through the AIFS website: there is one version for parents and carers within Western Australia, and another version for those in the rest of the country.
BUILDING RESPONSES TO TECHNOLOGY-FACILITATED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Dr Bridget Harris’s project, mentioned above, aims to investigate one of Australia’s most pressing social problems: domestic violence and the emerging use of digital technology to enact and escalate abuse and stalking. Justice systems may have a crucial role to play in preventing technology-facilitated domestic and family violence and safeguarding and empowering victims and survivors, but there are other solutions and pathways we could explore.
If you are an advocate or practitioner working in the domestic violence field and you would like to participate in an interview or focus group, or would like more information about this project, please contact Dr Bridget Harris.
PHD SCHOLARSHIPS IN FAMILY VIOLENCE AND GENDER EQUALITY
The Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre (MGFVPC) is currently advertising three PhD scholarships in the area of gender, domestic and family violence. The successful applicants will join the MGFVPC and contribute to the Centre’s program of research while also undertaking their own distinct PhD projects. The successful candidates will have access to funding to support fieldwork, transcription, travel, and conference attendance. The candidates will benefit from expert supervision from research leaders in domestic and family violence, policy and practice reform, primary prevention and gender equality.
MEASURES OF INTERVENTION EFFICACY FOR SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT: SURVEY
Professionals working with survivors of sexual assault in Australia are invited to participate in a study that aims to better understand the assessment measures used when working with these survivors.
Specifically, the study is seeking information about assessment measures used to assess client symptoms, assessment measures used to inform treatment approaches for survivors of sexual assault, and assessment measures used to measure treatment progress.
Conferences & events
2 TO 3 SEPTEMBER 2021
Queensland Safe & Together Model Implementation 2-Day Summit
7 TO 8 OCTOBER 2021
Indigenous wellbeing conference
15 TO 17 JUNE 2022
AIFS 2022 Conference: Putting Families at the Centre
Books and reports
Brown, C., Yap, M., Thomassin, A., Murray, M., & Yu, E. (2021). “Can I just share my story?”—Experiences of technology-facilitated abuse among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women from regional and remote areas: Executive summary and key findings. eSafety Commissioner. https://www.esafety.gov.au/about-us/research/technology-facilitated-abuse-among-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-women
Poyner, E., McCann, B., Wilson, C., & Gibson, M. (2021). New parents, new possibilities: Family violence prevention for LGBTIQ+ parented families. Centre for Family Research and Evaluation. https://cfre.org.au/new-parents-new-possibilities
Carrington, K., Sozzo, M., Ryan, V., & Rodgers, J. (2021). Women-led police stations: Reimagining the policing of gender violence in the twenty-first century. Policing and Society, 1–21. https://doi.org/10.1080/10439463.2021.1956925
Cortis, N., Smyth, C., valentine, k., Breckenridge, J., & Cullen, P. (2021). Adapting service delivery during COVID-19: Experiences of domestic violence practitioners. The British Journal of Social Work, 51(5), 1779–1798. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcab105
Fiolet, R., Tarzia, L., Owen, R., Eccles, C., Nicholson, K., Owen, M., Fry, S., Knox, J., & Hegarty, K. (2020). Indigenous perspectives on using technology as a supportive resource when experiencing family violence. Journal of Technology in Human Services, 38(3), 203–225. https://doi.org/10.1080/15228835.2020.1742272
Grace Kuen Yee, T., Martyn, S., James, F., Sophia, G.C., Donna, C., & Carmela, P. (2021). Adverse childhood experiences, associated stressors and comorbidities in children and youth with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder across the child protection and justice settings in Western Australia. BMC Pediatrics. https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-738216/v1
Hicks, M.H.-R., Mohsin, M., Silove, D., Fisher, J., Moussa, B., Steel, Z., Nancarrow, H., Nadar, N., Klein, L., Hasoun, F., Yousif, M., Khalil, B., Krishna, Y., & Rees, S. J. (2021). Attitudes towards gender roles and prevalence of intimate partner violence perpetrated against pregnant and postnatal women: Differences between women immigrants from conflict-affected countries and women born in Australia. PLOS One, 16(7), e0255105. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0255105
Losung, R. K., De Paoli, T., Kebbell, M., & Bond, A. (2021). The role of empathy in professional quality of life: A study on Australian police officers working in sexual assault and child abuse investigation. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11896-021-09468-5
Quilter, J. (2021). Getting consent “right”: Sexual assault law reform in New South Wales. Australian Feminist Law Journal, 1–24. https://doi.org/10.1080/13200968.2021.1930434
Turnbull-Roberts, V., Salter, M., & Newton, B. J. (2021). Trauma then and now: Implications of adoption reform for First Nations children. Child & Family Social Work. https://doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12865
In the media
Sexual violence allegations brought by disabled women “not going to court”, campaign group says—Sky News
Australian Expert joins Facebook’s Global Women’s Advisory Panel—Facebook
Children as young as 13 served with domestic violence orders in Queensland—ABC News
Computer security personnel need tools, training to assist survivors of intimate partner violence—University of Michigan News
How stalkerware fits into a tech-assisted domestic abuse cycle—PC Mag
https://2ser.com/episodes/drive-400pm-5th-aug-2021/ (77 minutes in)
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