Indigenous women have become targets in domestic violence system

14 Sep 2018

A domestic violence protection order is the most common legal response to domestic and family violence in Australia. Every year, Queensland courts issue about 25,000 orders to protect people from domestic violence.

But in a system originally intended to protect women from violence, our research shows that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) women are being swept up in domestic violence-related offences in disproportionate numbers compared with the overall population. Many are ending up in prison as a result.

How the domestic violence protection system works

To understand the problem, it first helps to define certain terms and how the domestic violence protection system works.

In Queensland, the “respondent” is the person who is issued with a domestic violence protection order and the “aggrieved” party is the person being protected by the order.

Most protection orders require respondents to stay away from the aggrieved or stop their violent behaviour toward the aggrieved. If the respondent breaches the conditions of the protection order, he or she can be charged with a criminal offence and possibly imprisoned.

Professor Heather Douglas from the TC Beirne School of Law and Dr Robin Fitgerald from the School of Social Science write for The Conversation

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