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International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy

The Domestic Violence Protection Order System as Entry to the Criminal Justice System for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

Abstract

The domestic violence protection order (DVO) system is a hybrid system of criminalisation in which the DVO itself is a civil order, but any contravention of that order may result in a criminal charge. Limited attention has been paid to the potential consequences of criminalisation through the hybrid DVO system in the Australian context. We use Queensland as a case study and examine administrative data gathered through Queensland Courts.  We show that a disproportionate number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) people are named on DVOs, charged with contraventions of DVOs and significantly more likely than non-Indigenous people to receive a sentence of imprisonment for a contravention of a DVO, compared to non-Indigenous people. We find that ATSI women are particularly overrepresented in this system. We review explanations for these startling figures and emphasize the need for a change in approach.

Published:
Pages:41 to 57
Section: Articles

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Open Access Journal
ISSN 2202-8005