Defining Domestic Violence in Protection Order Legislation: A Pilot Observational Study in the ACT

40(2) Alternative Law Journal: 113-117 (2015)

6 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2015 Last revised: 31 May 2017

See all articles by Melissa Gibb

Melissa Gibb

Independent

Patricia L. Easteal

University of Canberra - School of Law and Justice

Date Written: June 29, 2015

Abstract

The ACT Domestic Violence and Protection Orders Act 2008 has been identified as the domestic violence civil legislation in Australia that provides the least protection for victims of family violence since it neither mentions specific types of domestic violence within its definition nor provides examples. However our observation of 18 victims accessing assistance from the Legal Aid ACT Domestic Violence and Protection Orders Unit revealed that, despite the shortcomings in the definition, it is being widely interpreted by judicial officers at this time. Despite asking questions that focus on physical violence, judicial officers appear to be interpreting the definition broadly enough to reflect the applicants’ experiences. However, given that our findings do not include contested final hearings and a belief that indeterminate legislation is most vulnerable to practitioners’ values and biases, we recommend that the ACT legislation be amended to be more in line with other jurisdictions.

Keywords: Domestic violence, civil legislation, ACT, Australia

JEL Classification: K13, K30, K39

Suggested Citation

Gibb, Melissa and Easteal, Patricia L., Defining Domestic Violence in Protection Order Legislation: A Pilot Observational Study in the ACT (June 29, 2015). 40(2) Alternative Law Journal: 113-117 (2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2624813

Melissa Gibb

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Patricia L. Easteal (Contact Author)

University of Canberra - School of Law and Justice ( email )

Australia

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