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Family Law

Family Law in Canberra – New ideas on breaking the cycle of family violence

By April 2, 2015No Comments

A major new report released by RMIT University has been launched by Australian of the Year Rosie Batty, it has been reported in Pro Bono Australia.

The RMIT Centre for Innovative Justice report entitled “Opportunities for early intervention: bringing perpetrators of family violence into view”, has been lodged with the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department.

The report lists a range of recommendations highlighting ways the justice system can interrupt the cycle of family violence to make perpetrators ‘more visible’ so that they don’t disappear ‘off the radar’. Early intervention and putting the spotlight on perpetrators is seen as key to interrupting the cycle of family violence.

Adjunct Professor Rob Hulls, director of the Centre for Innovative Justice told Pro Bono, “Generally, the justice system offers a pretty blunt response by issuing an order or passing a sentence and sending a perpetrator away, rather than keeping him within reach. This report offers more nuanced and systemic scrutiny at all points along the spectrum of the justice system’s contact with a violent or controlling man.”

Rosie Batty said that the recommendations “are about removing the burden from victims of family violence and placing it squarely on the system” and could “guarantee that the justice system interacts more effectively with perpetrators of family violence”.

The range of recommendations outlined includes:

  • “jurisdictions to support a dedicated Perpetrator Interventions conference to highlight existing initiatives and best practice that both State and Federal Governments can adopt immediately
  • looking at ways the justice system – from police, to courts and corrections – can connect perpetrators with treatment for alcohol abuse or mental health issues that need to be addressed to help them deal with their violence.
  • bringing perpetrators of family violence back before the same judge for ongoing monitoring and swift, certain sanctions, including ‘flash incarceration’ if they do not comply with court orders.
  • early intervention in Family Violence Strategies to contribute to a comprehensive evidence base.
  • all jurisdictions to support men’s behavior change programs as a fully funded and properly developed sector.
  • contact with courts or corrections systems to be used as an opportunity to identify the use of family violence by other offenders and connect them with relevant treatment to stop the cycle of family violence.”

The report also discusses the need to stem the intergenerational transmission of violence.

The full report can be found at the RMIT Centre for Innovation website (

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