(Essential Kids, 19 March 2015)
Family violence has finally come to attention as a systemic wrong in need of a national plan. A federal Senate Inquiry is examining it in detail and Victoria has appointed a dedicated minister for its prevention and a Royal Commission. The Queensland Special Taskforce has just handed down its comprehensive report, and a family violence prevention advocate, the incredible Rosie Batty, has been named Australian of the Year.
My team at RMIT's Centre for Innovative Justice released a report Thursday that aims to broaden this conversation. Despite increased awareness, a significant gap exists in our collective response. Yes, we need to support those who are subjected to family violence – mostly women and children – and this must remain our priority. But we must also intervene at the source of the problem.
Until we adjust the lens and bring those who use violence and coercion more clearly into view, victims will remain at risk and the cycle of this violence will simply roll on. This may manifest in assaults against the same or subsequent partners, in the damaging effects we know are experienced by children, in the behaviour of adolescents, or in tragic and lethal escalation.
Either way, it will manifest as core business in our courts and as an ongoing drain on our economic and social well-being.