“I’ve never had to go down this path before”: Applicant experiences of an online family violence intervention order process.

Prof. Stuart Ross1, Ms. Sophie Aitken2
1School Of Social & Political Sciences, University Of Melbourne, Northcote, Australia, 2Caraniche, 1/260 Hoddle Street, Abbotsford, Australia

Domestic violence protection orders are civil orders intended to protect victims from further violence. However their availability to victims and ultimately their effectiveness is limited by complex procedural requirements and court accessibility barriers. One solution has been to transfer responsibility for initiating applications to police, but this reduces victims’ control over the process, and can result in inadequate information collection and outcomes that are inconsistent with victim preferences. An evaluation of an online Family Violence Intervention Order application process trialed in three courts in Victoria, Australia showed that it simplifies the application process, enhances applicant agency and reduces stress, speeds up case processing and reduces the workload of court staff. The success of this initiative raises wider questions about the importance of participant agency and control in the family violence system.


Stuart Ross is Enterprise Professor in Criminology in the School of Social & Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne and sits on the Master of Criminology Advisory Board. The Enterprise Professor role was created to enhance the links between the University of Melbourne and industry. In this capacity, Stuart has provided consultancy research and evaluation services to a range of State and Commonwealth agencies, both directly and in partnership with other universities and consulting firms. Prior to joining Criminology at the University of Melbourne, he was Director of the National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics in the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Sophie Aitken is Manager, Program Development for Caraniche, a provider of forensic psychology programs in the youth and adult justice sector. She has oversight of program development across the full range of the company’s forensic and general psychology services.


The society is devoted to promoting criminological study, research and practice in the region and bringing together persons engaged in all aspects of the field. The membership of the society reflects the diversity of persons involved in the field, including practitioners, academics, policy makers and students.

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