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Violence against women and 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 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.



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.


Domestic and family violence protection orders in Australia

An investigation of information sharing and enforcement

Throughout the 1980s, every Australian state or territory moved to enact legislation with the purpose of protecting women from intimate partner violence through the provision of a civil court order, or Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPOs).


Enforcement of DVPOs, including across state and territory borders, is the primary focus of this project, which draws on empirical research conducted in 2014-16. The research highlights that issues that compromise victim safety do not occur in legislation, but in its implementation and enforcement.

Further, inconsistencies and competing interests at the intersections of domestic and family violence, child protection, and family law remain an impediment to effective implementation and enforcement of DVPOs. Effectiveness of the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme, a national information system to enable courts and police in different jurisdictions to share relevant information, will be compromised without the removal of inconsistencies, along with the safety of women and their children being given the greatest priority.

This paper presents the state of knowledge on practices or processes used by child protection services and specialist domestic violence services or family law services to work better together and improve service responses for women and children living with and separating from family violence.
A framework of interagency working was used to help identify the types of interagency components – including infrastructure and service components – involved in each model. Processes taken to support or facilitate the interface with child protection were also considered.

The paper identified 24 models of interagency working involving some degree of child protection involvement. It found that while working together towards similar goals for families seems a logical way of improving processes to reduce fragmentation, gaps, overlap and redundancies in service provision, there is currently insufficient evidence that these changes improve outcomes for children and families.

Key recommendations arising from this paper include investing more funding and support into evaluation and implementation of models, and considering evidence for interagency models outside this field where there may have been more rigorous evaluations.


Publication details

This commissioned work is part of the ANROWS Horizons series. A Compass (research to policy and practice) paper is also available as part of this project. Papers will draw on empirical research, including research produced under ANROWS’s research program, and/or practice knowledge.


Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research (QCDFVR), CQ University

Senior Research Officer, QCDFVR, CQ University

Senior Research Officer, QCDFVR, CQ University

Senior Research Officer, QCDFVR, CQ University

Research Officer, QCDFVR, CQ University

Senior Research Officer, QCDFVR, CQ University

ISBN: 978-1-925372-64-9 (print) 978-1-925372-65-6 (online)

69 pp.

Suggested citation

Taylor, A., Ibrahim, N., Lovatt, H., Wakefield, S., Cheyne, N., & Finn, K. (2017). Domestic and family violence protection orders in Australia: An investigation of information-sharing and enforcement with a focus on interstate orders: Final report (ANROWS Horizons, 07/2017). Sydney, NSW: ANROWS.


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