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Violence against women and their children affects everybody. It impacts on the health, wellbeing and safety of a significant proportion of Australians throughout all states and territories and places an enormous burden on the nation’s economy across family and community services, health and hospitals, income-support and criminal justice systems.

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ANROWS hosts events as part of its knowledge transfer and exchange work, including public lectures, workshops and research launches. Details of upcoming ANROWS activities and news are available from the list on the right.

ANROWS

About ANROWS

ANROWS was established by the Commonwealth and all state and territory governments of Australia to produce, disseminate and assist in applying evidence for policy and practice addressing violence against women and their children.

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Resources

To support the take-up of evidence, ANROWS offers a range of resources developed from research to support practitioners and policy-makers in delivering evidence-based interventions.


EXTERNALLY FUNDED RESEARCH PROJECTS

The criminalisation of coercive control: A national study of victims’ and survivors’ views on the need for, benefits, risks and impacts of criminalisation

Background

There has been increasing debate surrounding the need to criminalise coercive and controlling behaviours. Advocates in favour of criminalisation note the experience of international jurisdictions which have implemented stand-alone criminal offences of coercive control, such as England and Wales, as evidence of the need for similar protections in law in Australia. Others have urged caution, noting that law reforms introduced to improve responses to different forms of violence against women have historically brought about unintended consequences that have undermined women’s access to justice. This national project will investigate the views of victims and survivors of domestic and family violence (DFV) on proposals to criminalise coercive control.

Aim

This project aims to:
- document victims' and survivors’ experiences of current responses to identify strengths and weaknesses, training and education needs, and service gaps
- provide insights into the views of victims and survivors on the role of law, benefits of criminalising coercive control, perceived risks, and the (potential) impacts of criminalisation on justice and safety outcomes for them.

Methods

The project adopts a multi-methods research design that combines a scoping review, victim and survivor survey, and in-depth interviews with victims and survivors. This approach will allow the research to capture victim and survivor views and experiences and use these to develop new knowledge and policy recommendations. While the research is national in its focus, we have built in a state-based case study to take stock of victims' and survivors’ views and experiences of the impact of the Tasmanian 2004 reforms to criminalise emotional abuse and intimidation.

Significance

It is important to note that in Australia and internationally this debate has occurred in the absence of any significant evidence as to the views and experiences of victims and survivors of DFV. This national project seeks to directly address this critical gap in current understanding and will be the first to conduct a national examination of victim and survivor views on the benefits, risks and impacts of the criminalisation of coercive control. The project would make policy and practice recommendations to improve criminal justice and service system responses to coercive control across Australia.

Funding Body

Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) Criminology Research Grants Scheme

Project start date

January 2021

Expected completion date

December 2023
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