“It’s Like Standing on a Beach, Holding Your Children’s Hands, and Having a Tsunami Just Coming Towards You”: Intimate Partner Violence and “Expert” Assessments in Australian Family Law

Zoe Rathus, Samantha Jeffries, Helena Menih, Rachael M Field

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The ways in which postseparation parenting disputes are managed
has undergone significant change in Australia since the Family Law
Act (Cth) was first enacted in 1975. The best interests of children have
always been paramount in children’s cases and over the last 20 years,
this concept has been legislatively shaped to include ongoing beneficial
post separation parental relationships and protection from
harm. A critical piece of evidence to inform a Family Court’s decision
making in such matters is a family report, which is an expert assessment
compiled by a social science professional. The authors report
findings from an Australian based qualitative study exploring the
experiences of family report assessment practice from the perspective
of victim mothers who have separated from men who perpetrate
intimate partner violence. The authors conclude that reforms are
necessary to improve the practice and procedure of family report
writing in Australia. Such reforms should ensure that the lived experience
of victims of intimate partner violence is validated, assessment
processes have victim efficacy, and the outcomes of such reports do
not put women and their children at ongoing risk of harm.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)408-440
Number of pages33
JournalVictims and Offenders
Volume14
Issue number4
Early online date14 Mar 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2019

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Tsunamis
family law
Hand
expert
violence
parental separation
family court
reform
Dissent and Disputes
Family Practice
Social Sciences
Parenting
Violence
social science
Mothers
Intimate Partner Violence
evidence

Cite this

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title = "“It’s Like Standing on a Beach, Holding Your Children’s Hands, and Having a Tsunami Just Coming Towards You”: Intimate Partner Violence and “Expert” Assessments in Australian Family Law",
abstract = "The ways in which postseparation parenting disputes are managedhas undergone significant change in Australia since the Family LawAct (Cth) was first enacted in 1975. The best interests of children havealways been paramount in children’s cases and over the last 20 years,this concept has been legislatively shaped to include ongoing beneficialpost separation parental relationships and protection fromharm. A critical piece of evidence to inform a Family Court’s decisionmaking in such matters is a family report, which is an expert assessmentcompiled by a social science professional. The authors reportfindings from an Australian based qualitative study exploring theexperiences of family report assessment practice from the perspectiveof victim mothers who have separated from men who perpetrateintimate partner violence. The authors conclude that reforms arenecessary to improve the practice and procedure of family reportwriting in Australia. Such reforms should ensure that the lived experienceof victims of intimate partner violence is validated, assessmentprocesses have victim efficacy, and the outcomes of such reports donot put women and their children at ongoing risk of harm.",
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“It’s Like Standing on a Beach, Holding Your Children’s Hands, and Having a Tsunami Just Coming Towards You”: Intimate Partner Violence and “Expert” Assessments in Australian Family Law. / Rathus, Zoe; Jeffries, Samantha; Menih, Helena; Field, Rachael M.

In: Victims and Offenders, Vol. 14, No. 4, 19.05.2019, p. 408-440.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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