Changing the Way the Justice System Views Perpetrators of Family Violence

Elena Campbell and RMIT’s Centre for Innovative Justice have worked closely with government and the community sector to change the way perpetrators are managed across the justice system.

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Elena Campbell, Centre for Innovative Justice

Elena Campbell’s research focuses on therapeutic justice and improvements to the justice system to prevent and eliminate violence against women.  After the killing of Rosie Batty’s son by her estranged partner, a tragedy that highlighted failings in the justice system, Campbell set out to understand how perpetrators can be better managed can so that this failing would not be repeated.

The Centre for Innovative Justice adopts a ‘people-centred’ approach to its research. Campbell met with Rosie Batty and listened to her personal account of how the justice system had not intervened when needed. She then engaged with stakeholders across the justice and service sectors, bringing agencies and practitioners together to address early interventions for perpetrators of family violence. Campbell posed the question “What would it look like if the justice and service system kept perpetrators of family violence within view?”. This new way of approaching the problem opened up a different conversation, enabling stakeholders to explore new solutions.

Campbell’s research highlighted the need to keep perpetrators on the radar across services. Drawing on the insights of stakeholders, she identified specific interventions that could reduce the risk that perpetrators pose. This included connecting perpetrators with crisis accommodation, drug and alcohol and mental health services, and using Courts to greater effect, such as by bringing perpetrators of family violence back before the same judge.

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Campbell’s engagement with policymakers and practitioners has influenced significant reforms to the way perpetrators are managed, ensuring that they are “kept in view” across the justice system. Campbell’s recommendations were adopted by the Royal Commission into Family Violence and her research has informed the National Outcome Standards for Perpetrator Interventions and the Victorian Premier’s 10 Year Plan for the Elimination of Family Violence.

Campbell has since worked with many government agencies and Courts to support the implementation of the Royal Commission’s recommendations and continues to advise agencies on perpetrator interventions and reforms that address family violence.

For further information contact the Centre for Innovative Justice.

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