‘I’m Not at All Protected and I Think Other Women Should Know That, That They’re Not Protected Either’: Victim–Survivors’ Experiences of ‘Misidentification’ in Victoria’s Family Violence System

Abstract

The misidentification of women as predominant aggressors has emerged as a topical issue in family violence research, with feminist scholarship suggesting that such trends may be attributed to a range of factors, including incident-based policing and a misunderstanding of the ways in which women use violence against their partners. Where existing research has primarily focused on policing practices in relation to misidentification, this article explores the impacts of misidentification on the lives of women victim–survivors of family violence in Victoria (Australia), a jurisdiction that has recently seen significant reforms to family violence systems in the wake of the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence (2016). Using data from interviews with 32 system stakeholders and survey responses from 11 women who have experienced misidentification in Victoria, this study explores misidentification within the family violence intervention order system. It demonstrates that being misidentified as a predominant aggressor on a family violence intervention order can have a significant impact on women’s lives and their access to safety, highlighting the need for improved policing and court responses to the issue beyond existing reforms.

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Published: 2021-06-20
Section:Online First
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How to Cite
Reeves, E. (2021). ‘I’m Not at All Protected and I Think Other Women Should Know That, That They’re Not Protected Either’: Victim–Survivors’ Experiences of ‘Misidentification’ in Victoria’s Family Violence System. International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 10(2). https://doi.org/10.5204/ijcjsd.1992

Author Biography

Monash University
 Australia

Ellen is a PhD student and Research Officer with the Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre, based out of Monash University, Melbourne. Her research is primarily concerned with the unintended consequences of domestic and family violence law reform for victim-survivors, with a particular interest in the criminalisation of women who have been misidentified as predominant aggressors.