The Mental Health’s Legal Centre Inside Access program through collaboration with the CIJ provided a submission to the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
The submission highlighted the way in which family violence features in the lives of women in Victorian prisons.
Correspondingly, it highlights the opportunity that exists for authorities to support this particular group of women and, in doing so, mitigate not only the violence’s damaging effects on the individuals concerned, but the broader impact of their offending.
The submission explores research which indicates the sizeable proportion of women in custodial environments who are or have been victims of family or sexual violence, including as children. It notes the way in which complex trauma – which is often the result of such experiences - contributes to women’s offending and imprisonment, as well as compounding the negative effects of the prison environment, and disadvantage and poverty upon release. It further notes the way in which family violence can be a direct cause of offending, as well as a direct impediment to women’s successful reintegration into the community.