Spaceless Violence: Technology-facilitated Abuse and Stalking in the Context of Domestic Violence

Bridget Harris4
4Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

The development and uptake of digital media and devices has increased, globally, and so has their presence in intimate relationships and family settings. Such shifts have brought change in the speed, volume and forms of communication, contact, and surveillance between parties. There are undoubtedly positives to such technology, however, these spaceless channels have been used by domestic violence perpetrators to enact harm. Technology-facilitated abuse and stalking transgress traditional boundaries and borders but are not divorced from, and are inextricably linked to other forms of violence. In this paper, the unique features of spaceless violence are outlined with emphasis on the necessity to examine it in the context of coercive and controlling relationships, which impact victim/survivor health, wellbeing and security. Drawing on studies in the Global North and South and interviews and focus groups with victim/survivors, criminal justice agents and advocates, theoretical and practical ways to understand and define technology-facilitated violence are discussed. Challenges with recognising, regulating and responding to spaceless violence and how these might be addressed are identified.


Biography:

Dr Bridget Harris is a Lecturer in the School of Justice, Faculty of Law, Member of the Crime and Justice Research Centre and Affiliated Researcher in the Digital Media Research Centre at Queensland University of Technology. Her work explores domestic violence in regional, rural and remote locations; technology-facilitated domestic violence and technology-facilitation of justice in the context of domestic violence.

Considering Victim Safety When Sentencing Intimate Partner Offenders

Julia Tolmie3
 3University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

This paper considers the importance of victim safety when sentencing for intimate partner violence offences. It analyses the current legal position in New Zealand, which is illustrative of a very traditional approach to this issue and is similar to the approach taken in a number of Australian jurisdictions. The paper first points out that victim safety is not an express or mandatory sentencing consideration in cases involving IPV in New Zealand. Furthermore, the manner in which the principles of sentencing and the decision making structure for sentencing have been framed make it difficult to consider victim safety in sentencing. The paper goes on to suggest that even if victim safety was a mandatory sentencing consideration, the process of factual proof at sentencing, combined with the nature of IPV, means that in most cases sentencing judges will not be equipped to make informed safety decisions. The irony is that the same barriers do not exist when decisions are made about bail – despite the fact that bail decisions are made at a time when the offender has not yet been proven to the criminal standard of proof to have predated against the victim.


Biography:

Professor Julia Tolmie teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Law and Policy and Women and the Law at The University of Auckland. She served as chair of the New Zealand Family Violence Death Review Committee from December 2011-2016, and as a member of the New Zealand Government’s Expert Advisory Group on Family Violence in 2013.

Temporary migration & family violence: the borders of belonging & protection

 Marie Segrave1
1Monash University, Clayton, Australia

While family violence has been recognised as a national priority in Australia, and indeed internationally, the intersections of complex migration status issues and the response to family violence are rarely the subject of close investigation. Most commonly this issue is reported on via anecdotal information arising in the context of larger studies or inquiries, such as the ANROWS-funded ASPIRE study and the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence. This presentation will draw on the largest study of temporary migration and family violence in Australia, and will highlight critical issues pertaining to the ways in which the migration system can be produce or sustain power imbalances between non-citizen victim-survivors and citizen (or permanent resident) perpetrators. It will ask critical questions about the limits we place around support in the context of family violence.


Biography:

Marie Segrave is an Associate Professor in Criminology at Monash University. She is a DECRA Fellow, and has conducted research on issues pertaining to the intersections of migration, border control and exploitation. She has published widely in this area. Marie works closely with the Monash Gender and Family Violence Focus Program and the newly established Monash Migration and Inclusion Centre.

Intimate partner violence, risk and security: securing women’s lives in a global world

Kate Fitz-Gibbon1, Sandra Walklate2, Jude McCulloch1, Jane Maree Maher1
1Monash University, Clayton, Australia, 2University of Liverpool, Liverpool, England

This paper examines intimate partner violence, risk and security as global issues. Although intimate partner violence, risk and security are intimately connected they are rarely considered in tandem in the context of global security. Yet, intimate partner violence causes widespread physical, sexual and/or psychological harm. It is the most common type of violence against women internationally and is estimated to affect 30 per cent of women worldwide. Intimate partner violence has received significant attention in recent years, animating political debate, policy and law reform as well as scholarly attention. This paper examines the need to count the costs of men’s intimate partner violence against women and the importance of contextualising the risk of intimate partner violence. It urges a rethink of the social construction of risk and violence arguing that the traditional dichotomy of public and private violence has historically disadvantaged women by downplaying the harm and risk of intimate partner violence.


Biography:

Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology in the School of Social Sciences at Monash University and an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Law and Social Justice at the University of Liverpool. Kate is a lead researcher within the Monash Gender and Family Violence Research Program.

Adopting a public health approach to sexual violence and abuse prevention

Dr Larissa (Lara) Christensen1, Susan Rayment-McHugh1, Dr Nadine McKillop1
1University Of The Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore DC, Australia

Effective prevention of sexual violence and abuse (SVA) must begin with a clear understanding of factors associated with its development, onset, and progression. SVA is a complex, multi-faceted social phenomenon. The heterogeneity among perpetrators of SVA, and SVA incidents themselves, has at times presented barriers to its prevention. Re-conceptualisation of the problem from social-ecological (Bronfenbrenner, 1979) and person-situation interaction (Mischel, 1968; Wortley, 2008) perspectives creates opportunities to explore prevention initiatives beyond the individual (perpetrator or victim) and to tailor prevention efforts to the context in which SVA incidents occur. This presentation frames the issue of SVA within the public health prevention model as an introduction to the clinical practice and research presented in this panel, emphasising the importance of prevention at the primary-, secondary-, and tertiary-level to reduce the extent and impact of these crimes


Biography:

Susan Rayment-McHugh’s research focuses on understanding and preventing sexual violence and abuse, including in endemic contexts, Australian Indigenous communities, and youth serving institutions.  Her research also includes program evaluation using realist methods.  In addition to her academic role, Susan is a forensic practitioner with over 24 years’ clinical experience in the sexual violence and abuse fields, working with both victims and perpetrators of sexual violence, their families and communities. Susan is a member of USC’s Indigenous Research Studies Theme and an Adjunct Research Fellow with the Griffith Criminology Institute.

Dr Lara Christensen’s research focuses on understanding sexual offending behaviour and justice responses to these offences. Her research on female child sexual offenders has focused on exploring professionals’ perceptions of these offenders and how these women are portrayed in the print media. You will find Lara’s research published in a number of Q1 journals such as Journal of Interpersonal Violence and Child Abuse and Neglect. Lara also reaches non-academic audiences when disseminating findings as she hopes that with more public recognition of this topic, victims will have a greater liklihood of attaining the intervention and emotional support they may require.

Dr. Nadine McKillop’s research concentrates on understanding and preventing sexual violence and abuse, the assessment and treatment of youth and adult sexual offenders, and factors associated with the onset of youth and adult offending to reduce the extent and impacts of sexual violence and abuse in the community. Nadine is an adjunct Research Fellow with the Griffith Criminology Institute and Honorary Research Fellow with the Centre for Advances in Behavioural Sciences, Coventry University. She is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Sexual Aggression: An international, interdisciplinary forum for research, theory and practice.

Extending contextual clinical interventions with youth sexual offenders to primary and secondary prevention: An Australian case study

Susan Rayment-McHugh1 Dimity Adams, Dr Nadine McKillop1
1University Of The Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore DC, Australia

Traditional approaches to treating youth who perpetrate sexual offences have been dominated by individual pathology-based conceptualisations. Prevention efforts in this field have reflected this conceptualisation focussing predominantly at the tertiary-level on individual offender management, treatment and justice responses. Risk of sexual violence, however, is often situated outside the individual, within the broader social and physical systems in which each young person is embedded. Lack of recognition for how these factors might also contribute to sexual violence narrows the focus of traditional prevention efforts to individually-focused approaches, overlooking the contexts and circumstances in which these offences occur.  This presentation showcases a contextual approach to clinical assessment and intervention for youth who perpetrate peer-to-peer sexual violence, which extends the focus of clinical practice from the individual to the specific physical and social contexts that increase risk of sexual violence perpetration. The presentation also demonstrates how this innovative contextual approach generated new opportunities to extend tertiary clinical interventions to primary and secondary prevention.  A local place-based case study will be used to highlight the links between tertiary clinical responses to adjudicated offenders, and the subsequent development, implementation and evaluation of primary and secondary prevention activities, designed to reduce the extent and impacts of youth sexual violence and abuse.


Biography:

Susan Rayment-McHugh’s research focuses on understanding and preventing sexual violence and abuse, including in endemic contexts, Australian Indigenous communities, and youth serving institutions.  Her research also includes program evaluation using realist methods.  In addition to her academic role, Susan is a forensic practitioner with over 24 years’ clinical experience in the sexual violence and abuse fields, working with both victims and perpetrators of sexual violence, their families and communities. Susan is a member of USC’s Indigenous Research Studies Theme and an Adjunct Research Fellow with the Griffith Criminology Institute.

Reconceptualising the role of guardianship in preventing child sexual abuse

Dr Nadine McKillop1, Danielle Reynald, and Susan Rayment-McHugh
1University Of The Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore DC, Australia

The role of guardianship in preventing crime has received significant international attention. Although initially applied to property crimes, interest in its utility for understanding and preventing crime of an interpersonal nature (including child sexual abuse; CSA) has increased in recent years. Guardianship plays an important role in responding to CSA and disclosures, as well as preventing it occurring in the first place. However, the personal nature of these crimes brings layers of complexity that requires more elaborate analysis of the elements that underpin guardianship. Reynald’s (2010) exploration of the dimensions of guardianship is useful for engaging in a more detailed examination of the capacity for guardianship as an effective tool for prevention of CSA, and how perceptions of capable guardianship may influence perpetrator and guardian behaviour. Using empirical data (n = 200+) from adjudicated male youths and adults, we identified micro-situational and contextual factors that serve to promote or impede effective guardianship and likelihood to intervene. In the presentation we consider why the simple presence of another may not be adequate for preventing CSA incidents, particularly in the riskiest contexts and relationships (i.e., domestic settings and affiliative relationships) and propose a (re)conceptualisation of the role of guardianship in the context of CSA.  From our findings, we suggest that a more nuanced understanding of guardianship dimensions will help to better inform primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention efforts to enhance the effectiveness of guardianship action.


Biography:

Dr. Nadine McKillop’s research concentrates on understanding and preventing sexual violence and abuse, the assessment and treatment of youth and adult sexual offenders, and factors associated with the onset of youth and adult offending to reduce the extent and impacts of sexual violence and abuse in the community. Nadine is an adjunct Research Fellow with the Griffith Criminology Institute and Honorary Research Fellow with the Centre for Advances in Behavioural Sciences, Coventry University. She is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Sexual Aggression: An international, interdisciplinary forum for research, theory and practice.

Professionals’ perceptions of female child sexual offenders: Implications for prevention

Dr Larissa (Lara) Christensen1
1University Of The Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore DC, Australia

As a result of traditional gender roles, society has difficulty understanding that females are capable of

committing child sexual abuse (CSA). Earlier research has found that professionals (e.g., police and psychiatrists) viewed female suspects as less harmful than male suspects and minimised the seriousness of CSA reports. Given that the role of females in society has changed over the last two decades across social, political, and economic platforms (Fine-Davis, 2016), it is difficult to generalise these results to the present day. A number of  in-depth semistructured interviews were conducted across a  diverse group of professionals (police officers, social workers, counselors, case managers, child and family support workers, and a legal professional; N = 21) involved in the community response and justice sector. This process yielded: (a) an in-depth understanding about professionals’ perceptions of female child sexual offenders and (b) identified where system efforts should be focused to better address and acknowledge female child sexual offenders. Results indicated  professionals’ acknowledgment that female child sexual offenders can inflict serious and persistent negative impacts on victims. These findings take a positive step forward compared with earlier perceptions, but it remains evident  perpatrator gender may still play a significant role in some dealings across professions and among colleagues at the tertiary level. As will be discussed, professionals emphasised the need for a more open discussion in society concerning female-perpetrated CSA in order to change this narrative and assist with prevention and disclosure, as important primary and secondary prevention measures.


Biography:

Dr Lara Christensen’s research focuses on understanding sexual offending behaviour and justice responses to these offences. Her research on female child sexual offenders has focused on exploring professionals’ perceptions of these offenders and how these women are portrayed in the print media. You will find Lara’s research published in a number of Q1 journals such as Journal of Interpersonal Violence and Child Abuse and Neglect. Lara also reaches non-academic audiences when disseminating findings as she hopes that with more public recognition of this topic, victims will have a greater liklihood of attaining the intervention and emotional support they may require.

The development of a new response to pro-lifers outside abortion providing premises

Mr David Vakalis1
1Monash University, Melbourne , Australia

Like other places in North America and Europe, Victoria had struggled to respond in an effective way to the 20 years of sustained protests by anti-abortion ids outside abortion providing premises. In 2015, the newly elected Victorian Government amended the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2005 to create 150-metre ‘safe access zones’ around abortion clinics that, among other things, forbids communication about abortion in a way that may cause distress or anxiety. Whilst being largely successful in its aims, the question being asked in this presentation is: what prompted the Victorian Governmeny to introduce safe access zones after so long? To answer this, I analyse publically available documents and qualitative interviews with key stakeholders. The paper argues that despite numerous compounding factors over many years, it was ultimately more recent factors that heightened social attention of domestic violence, competition between political parties, women’s leadership, and more, that prompted government action. The paper is based on postgraduate research being completed exploring the use and experience of social control in relation to anti-abortionist protesters in Melbourne. The paper will appeal particularly to those interested in policy development and policy advocacy.


Biography:

David Vakalis is a PhD student at Monash University. His study explores the interaction between social control and the culture wars as it plays out in the context of womxn’s reproductive and sexual health rights. His other research interests include crimes of the powerful, drug use and policing, protest/public order policing, and right-wing movements.

 

Communicative Consent as Law: Problems and Possibilities

Ms Rachael Burgin1
1Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

This paper explores the operation of a communicative or affirmative standard of consent in rape trials heard in the County Court of Victoria, between 2009 and 2016. Legislative reform across Australia has steadily moved towards a communicative consent standard, which requires ongoing and active communication by all parties to a sexual act. Yet, findings from this research suggest that such a legal standard has not been completely nor appropriately legislated because victims continue to face re-victimisation in the context of the criminal rape trial. Despite reform to rape law, there remains a reliance on the victim to demonstrate non-consent to sexual intercourse, such as through active resistance. Further, victims continue to be questioned on cross-examination by the defence about her actions before and during a rape in an attempt to construct a narrative of consent. In light of such evidence, this paper contends that rape law reform to date has been largely symbolic rather than substantive in legally securing women’s sexual autonomy.


Biography:

Rachael Burgin is a PhD Candidate at Monash University. Her research explores the operation of a communicative or affirmative model of sexual consent in rape trials in Victoria. Her broader research interests include rape law reform, understanding the criminal justice experience of victim-survivors, and social, political and legal responses to sexual violence.

 

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