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Jessica

Jessica Aulich

Year of Award: 2015 Award State: Australian Capital Territory Social Welfare > Domestic Violence
The ACT Government Audrey Fagan Churchill Fellowship to examine models for addressing domestic violence which can inform Australian policy - Austria, USA
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Major recommendations which can be adopted by Australian policy make

  • Policy Informed by Evidence - FV policy should be based on evidence of demonstrated best practice. Trauma informed care, predominant in Australia, needs to be examined for its effectiveness and compared with evidence-based approaches adopted elsewhere. 
  • Family Violence Courts - We need to establish specialist FV courts, drawing on the successful experience of other jurisdictions, especially in New York City. The ACT, because of its size, would be a prime location to trial this, with evaluation inbuilt and ongoing. 
  • Training - An evidence-base needs to inform training of those in the judiciary and allied professions and to services working with victims, to minimise the impact of the court system on victims. This training should equip participants to better understand victim behavior and better prepare victims to understand their own circumstances. 
  • Domestic Violence Orders - Domestic Violence Orders (DVOs) should be meaningful for both the victim and the perpetrator. Breaches should be considered a serious offence and accountability be legally enforced. 
  • National Data and Research - A national data system needs to be developed to build an evidence-base for policy development. It should research new programs, collect statistics, gather evaluations on new programs, to inform legislative changes and innovations in this area. 
  • Lessons from Past Experience - The FV movement needs to learn lessons from the pioneers who began in this field many of whom are now nearing retirement age. This collective knowledge needs to harnessed and not lost and be evaluated in the context of present policy discussions. 
  • Inclusion - There should be acknowledgement and inclusion of the LGBTI community in policy formation. The voices of men and allies should be noted and valued. 
  • Separation from Homelessness - FV needs to be separated from homelessness and have independent funding sources. Homelessness needs to be considered as a byproduct of FV, not the presenting issue. 
  • Legislative Implementation - We must learn from successes internationally, and build them into the Australian context. Legislative reform mandates change, but ensuring that the law is followed is the next step and should be factored in at implementation stages. Unless change is mandated, FV policy will not move forward at the current rate. Mandated change, on its own, does not guarantee that new legislation will be appropriately adhered to and implemented, so that accountability systems need to be in place to support legislative change. 
  • Cohesion and Collaboration - Without cohesion and collaboration, between and within sectors, innovation in FV policy will be piecemeal and inconsistent and be limited in reaching the full potential of change.
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