EXTERNALLY FUNDED RESEARCH PROJECTS
Domestic violence disclosure schemes: A national review
In 2014 family violence was declared a national emergency in Australia. In the years since there has been extensive law reform activity. Domestic violence disclosure schemes (DVDSs) have emerged within this context as a policy option that may improve safety outcomes for victims. However, there is currently no evidence as to the impact of these schemes and no consultation with victims as to their value. This project aims to generate the evidence required to inform decisions about the introduction of these schemes, and to better understand what victims and survivors want from them and how such schemes can be effectively operationalised.
Clare’s Law, the first DVDS internationally, was rolled out across England and Wales in March 2014 and is likely to be put on a statutory footing in the Domestic Abuse Bill currently before parliament. Such schemes have also been adopted in Scotland, Ireland, Saskatchewan (Canada), New Zealand and some Australian states.
In Australia, iterations of Clare’s Law have three objectives:
1. to strengthen the ability of the police and other multi-agency partnerships to provide appropriate protection and support to victims at risk of domestic violence
2. to reduce incidents of domestic violence through prevention
3. to reduce the health and criminal justice-related costs of domestic violence.
This project will directly address gaps in knowledge and emerging concerns about these schemes. The findings will be relevant to current policy discussions and evaluations of DVDSs in all Australian state and territory jurisdictions, as well as in comparable international jurisdictions including New Zealand, Canada, the United States, Scotland, England and Wales.
This project will generate new knowledge nationally and internationally on the impact, merits and risks of DVDSs. It aims to:
- provide new insights into the views of victims and survivors, including their views on the value of a DVDS, the perceived benefits and risks of a DVDS, and the (potential) impact of a DVDS
- document specialist family violence sector views on the need for, and merits of, a DVDS across Australian state and territory jurisdictions
- examine how victims and survivors from diverse communities access, use and experience a DVDS, its implementation and its impacts
- in the light of international developments, make policy and practice recommendations to inform improved operation and/or introduction more broadly of DVDSs across Australia.
This project will adopt qualitative and quantitative approaches to examining DVDSs across Australia, centring women’s and practitioner’s experiences of such schemes where appropriate.