Bringing online child abuse material into the family home: the intersection between online child abuse material and family violence

Dr Marg Liddell1, Ms Natalie Walker1
1Rmit University, Melbourne, Australia, 2PartnerSPEAK, Melbourne, Australia

Over recent years knowledge about the impact of online child abuse offences on women and children in Australia has grown enormously.  Factors promoting this increased knowledge include research commissioned by PartnerSPEAK (an online forum supporting women and children affected by this offending); increasing numbers of people engaging with PartnerSPEAK’s online forum; public speaking by PartnerSPEAK representatives, and media interest.  Understanding the intersection between this offending and family violence has also emerged.  This paper explores this relationship using evidence from PartnerSPEAK’s qualitative research and examination of data from 600 posts that were submitted to the PartnerSPEAK on-line forum.  What has emerged is that use of online child abuse material may bring violence to family members many ways. Sometimes this is seen in overt behaviour and sometimes in covert behaviour.  Additionally, the power over and the objectification of women and children; the dehumanising behaviour and the sense of entitlement expressed by online child abuse offenders are dynamics common to family violence perpetrators.  The cycle of abuse includes psychological, economic and sometimes sexual violence towards the partner and children.  Many consequences for partner victim/survivors are similar: trauma, the victim is disbelieved or blamed not just by the offender but by those expected to help; and housing and custody issues. A resulting concern is to ensure that the impact of this violence and abuse is not ignored and victims do not suffer the same lack of program response that occurred with child sexual abuse as well as family violence in recent decades.


Marg Liddell PhD is a senior lecturer at RMIT University and is the Chair of PartnerSPEAK Committee of Management.  Marg has over 25 years research and evaluation experience in qualitative and quantitative research in child protection; issues facing young people in the juvenile justice system; women and justice and the Inside Out Prison Exchange program. Qualitative research with vulnerable women titled “Women’s experiences of learning about the involvement of a partner possessing child abuse material in Australia” was completed in 2015 for PartnerSPEAK. More recent research 2016 to 2018 relates to the role money plays in family violence.

Natalie Walker is the founder and CEO of PartnerSPEAK, an online and face to face organisation that works with people who have suffered from a relative’s use of online child abuse material. PartnerSPEAK was funded in 2017 by the Victorian state government and now provides Intentional Peer support to people affected by a partner or family members online child abuse offending.  Natalie received a Churchill Fellowship in 2017 and will study the application of International Peer Support internationally.

Doing Therapeutic Justice for the families of the Disappeared: Exhumations as Justice in Spain

Ms Natalia Maystorovich-Chulio1
1The University Of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

Forensic exhumations are more generally associated with criminal prosecutions seeking to attribute individualised or collective group for the sequestration, torture and killing of civilians. Spain is distinct as often there is no criminal investigation associated with the location of the disappeared. The exhumation of clandestine graves serves wider humanitarian goals after more than 80 years since the original crime was committed. Due to a policy of impunity and the statute of limitations for murder expired criminal investigations are not possible, despite the continuous nature of enforced disappearance. However, the privatised exhumations offer the relatives a therapeutic form of justice. It has allowed for public and open exhumation sites whereby the families can collaborate as they see fit in the recuperation of their dead. The open nature of exhumations permits communities to come together and contribute to the revision of collective memory in the recognition of the atrocities committed in the recent past. This offers those present access to truth as forensic specialists corroborate scientific findings with testimony and information of what happened to these victims of enforced disappearance. This counter-narrative offers survivors with recognition for the crimes committed against them and their families as well as the states failure in meeting with its obligations under international and domestic law.


Natalia Majstorovic-Chulio is a PhD student and casual academic with the Department of Sociology and Social Policy at The University of Sydney. She is interested in human rights and humanitarian law; transitional justice; amnesty laws, trauma and healing in post conflict societies; archaeological recovery of mass graves; capacity of social movements to enact change; etc.  She has been in cooperation with the Association for the Recovery of Historic Memory (ARMH) in Spain since 2012.

Her focus is on social research and methods in an attempt to merge my political and social interests with a scholarship, which might enact social change.  In this regard ethnographic and interview methods are particularly useful in developing greater understandings of the social world.


Restorative justice programs for sexual and family violence cases: the need for evaluation

Ms Daye Gang1, Associate Professor Bebe Loff2, Professor Bronwyn Naylor3, Doctor Maggie Kirkman4
1Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, 2Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, 3RMIT, Melbourne, Australia, 4Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Restorative justice has been offered in many forms as a justice option for survivors of sexual and family violence for several decades, including in Australia. Scholars commonly conceptualise the merits and drawbacks of restorative justice for sexual and family violence – whether on feminist grounds, criminal justice grounds or others – without referring to a specific program or kind of program. In particular, perspectives against the application of restorative justice processes to family violence overlook the fact that the criminal justice system remains a hostile institution for most victims, and that women are still not afforded a range of justice options in order to exercise their agency. In addition to these concepts, there is a need for evaluation of programs to provide empirical evidence which complements existing research on aspects of programs.

This paper describes an attempt to review the findings of evaluations of restorative justice programs that include sexual and/or family violence in their caseloads. Our goal was to synthesise results to provide evidence of what aspects of programs achieved the aims. We searched for evaluations that examined whether the program was appropriately implemented, whether their aims were specified and met, and which (if any) features of the program are effective or need improvement. Having found only one paper which met those rigorous standards, we discuss the implications of not having more evaluations, as well as the implications of not being able to conduct a systematic review.


Daye is a PhD candidate at Monash University in the Michael Kirby Centre for Public Health and Human Rights.

Victims’ rights and procedural justice in New Zealand

Dr Kim  McGregor1
1New Zealand Government , Wellington , New Zealand

The effectiveness of a criminal justice system relies on the trust, confidence, engagement, and participation of victims. Yet, adversarial criminal justice systems such as those in Australia and New Zealand are primarily committed to ensuring the accused is given a fair trial. The right to a fair trial is one sided when it fails to include the needs of victims and recognise the importance of procedural justice for victims.

In recent years many countries, including New Zealand, have taken steps to reinforce ideas about procedural justice, such as enacting laws that provide for a Code of victims’ rights. The rights and principles in the Victims Code 2015 shine a light on both the good practices currently in place, and the challenges and opportunities to better provide for victims of crime.

The New Zealand Government has committed to criminal justice reform and will be launching a public conversation on new ideas to reform the criminal justice system. This presents a unique opportunity to recognise the importance of procedural justice for victims.

In this presentation, I will discuss barriers to procedural justice for victims, solutions to dealing with these barriers, particularly by implementing the Victims Code 2015, and how victims’ voices are being included in the adult criminal justice system reforms.


Dr Kim McGregor is the inaugural Chief Victims Advisor to Government in New Zealand, and was appointed to this role in November 2015. Her role was established as part of a wider suite of government initiatives aimed at addressing family violence and providing support for all people who experience crime. The appointment also sought to improve victim participation in, and engagement with, the criminal justice system.

Alongside her role as Chief Victims Advisor, Dr McGregor is also the Director of her own company, ‘Tiaki Consultants’, which offers specialist sexual violence prevention services including consultation, counselling, research and training.

Issues that sexual assault and family violence victims face in the criminal justice system.

Dr Sarah  Tapper1
1Ministry of Justice, New Zealand, Wellington, New Zealand

Victims often report feeling re-victimised during their journey through the criminal justice system. This is particularly the case for sexual assault and family violence victims who face disbelief, judgement, loss of control and delay while trying to cope with the trauma and loss caused by the crime.

The adversarial system, by its very nature, puts victims at the centre of a contest between the prosecution and defence in court proceedings. The criminal justice system is not designed to serve a therapeutic function, but victims bear the major impact of crime and are involuntary participants whose involvement is essential to the proper functioning of the system. Despite high attrition and low conviction rates for sexual assault cases, the criminal justice system remains an important avenue of redress for sexual assault victims. However, many victims believe that procedural justice is more important than substantive justice. Being treated fairly and with respect validates their experiences and helps victims to regain a sense of control.

I will discuss the issues that sexual assault and family violence victims face in deciding to report their victimisation to the police and begin the journey through the criminal justice system. How victims are treated by the criminal justice system influences the trust and confidence of the public in that system. I will propose that any substantial reform to the criminal justice system must involve a victim-centric approach.


Sarah received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Australia, followed by a law degree from Murdoch University in Perth. She worked as a lawyer for 7 years in Perth, and then moved home to New Zealand where she studied Psychology and completed a PhD from Victoria University of Wellington. The research focus of her thesis examined the extent to which serial sexual offenders are consistent in their offence behaviour. Sarah currently works as an Advisor to the Chief Victims Advisor in the Ministry of Justice, New Zealand.

Can the government better meet the justice needs of victims through a restorative approach?

Miss Annaliese Wilson1
1Office of the Chief Victims Advisor to Government , Wellington , New Zealand

In both the Australian and New Zealand criminal justice systems, victims have little opportunity to be involved in their own case, or when they are involved, are not able to determine the nature or extent of their involvement. Many victims who have gone through the court process report that they have a limited ability to achieve a personal sense of justice and feel they are often side-lined. This can result in secondary victimisation and feelings of injustice.

This overarching theme of this discussion will be how governments can better meet the justice needs of victims through a restorative approach. Specifically, this discussion will explore victims’ justice needs, how a restorative approach can address these needs, and if a restorative approach is the best way to meet victims’ justice needs, especially for family violence victims.

The New Zealand Government has committed to criminal justice reform and will be launching a public conversation on new ideas to reform the criminal justice system.  I will discuss how repairing the harm caused to victims through a restorative approach could be central to any such reform.


Annaliese Wilson is an advisor at the Ministry of Justice in New Zealand and supports the Chief Victims Advisor to Government. Annaliese has a multidisciplinary background having studied in criminology, anthropology, and political science at Victoria University of Wellington. She has recently completed a Graduate Certificate in Restorative Justice Practice at the School of Government within Victoria University.

“To me it was normal”: Making sense of family violence from the perspective of perpetrators and the implications for treatment

Dr Bronwyn Morrison1, Ms Marianne Bevan1
1Department of Corrections,

New Zealand has one of the highest per capita rates of intimate partner violence among OECD countries. In 2017, almost a quarter of all sentences managed by the Department of Corrections were associated with at least one family violence-related offence. Despite this significant contribution, there has been a lack of research specifically focused on family violence perpetrators in New Zealand. Little is therefore known about the onset of family violence offending and how this fits alongside other types of offending, or the stability of violence across time and different relationships. There is also an absence of knowledge about perpetrators’ lifetime experience of family violence interventions and other interventions, and the degree to which these interventions (or combinations of interventions) were considered useful by those who experienced them. Relatedly, we know very little about which factors contribute to temporary or permanent desistance from family violence offending. In order to start addressing these gaps, during 2017 the Department of Corrections undertook in-depth qualitative interviews with 48 men and women in prison for family violence offences, who had recently completed some form of treatment. This paper presents key findings from this research, with a specific focus on perpetrator accounts of their violence and what helped or hindered their efforts to stop. The paper concludes by considering the implications of these findings for effective future service provision.


Bronwyn Morrison is a Principal Research Adviser at the Department of Corrections, New Zealand. She has a Ph.D in Criminology from Keele University, UK. She has worked in government research and evaluation roles in New Zealand for the last 12 years. Since joining the Department of Corrections in 2015 she has undertaken projects on prisoners’ post-release experiences, family violence perpetrators, remand prisoners, Corrections officer recruits, and women in prison.

Marianne Bevan is a Senior Research Adviser at the Department of Corrections in New Zealand. She has completed a range of research and evaluation projects related to women’s offending, the case management of women in prison, family violence perpetration, prisoners’ trauma exposure, and youth in prison. Prior to joining the Department of Corrections, she conducted research and implemented projects on gender and security sector reform in Timor-Leste, Togo, Ghana, and Liberia.

The impact of local commissioning on victim services in England and Wales: an empirical study.

Lesley Simmonds1
1Plymouth University, Plymouth, United Kingdom

Victim Services provision in England and Wales has undergone a seismic shift in recent years, following the move to the local commissioning of victim services.  This commissioning role was, contentiously, given to Local Police and Crime Commissioners (LPCC).  The shift has had a major impact upon Victim Support, the long established national victims’ charity.  Victim Support is now required to bid for funding at the local level, alongside other victim agencies, rather than receiving funding direct from the Ministry of Justice without question.  In most areas of England and Wales Victim Support has been funded by the LPCC, but in some, the agency has not been successful.  This is something that Victim Support could never have imagined, in that it had become something of a ‘national treasure’ as the ‘go to’ agency for victims of reported crime.   Whilst specialist agencies supporting victims of serious crimes or particular groups have long been in the position of chasing bids from municipal or charitable bodies, they also now have the opportunity to be funded by LPCCs.  Whilst this move has been less fundamentally challenging for them, there are impacts for these agencies also.  The move to local commissioning has been shaped by the increasing influence of neo-liberalism upon the political economy of the UK, championed by the Conservative government in power from 2012 as a major voice within a Coalition party, and from 2015 as a majority.  Part of that neo-liberalism has been the ‘austerity’ agenda.  With this in mind the research looks at the impact that this reshaping is having, both on agencies and the victims they seek to help.

Lesley’s interest in victim services and in in particular Victim Support began with her PhD. Since then Lesley has explored the way in which Victim Support developed, particularly in the 2000s under the championship of the New Labour government, to become a single national charity.  Since then the influence of Neo-liberalism and ‘austerity’ have re-shaped victim services in England and Wales, with the introduction of local commissioning.  This re-shaping is in line with the political economy of Conservatism, and is having a range of impacts on both victim services and the those they seek to assist.  As well as researching in this area, Lesley’s teaching interests also relate to victims and the services provided to them.

Increasing the Role of Third Parties: Separate Legal Representation for Sexual Assault Victims in Ireland

Mary Iliadis1
1Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

Sexual assault cases have historically resulted in persistent victim dissatisfaction with, and alienation from, the prosecution process. As a result, some adversarial jurisdictions have moved somewhat contentiously towards integrating victim participation rights within the legal process to redress sexual assault victims’ procedural and substantive justice concerns. The introduction of s 34 of the Sex Offenders Act 2001 (IRE), which allows a victim to access state funded legal representation to oppose a defendant’s application for the introduction of their sexual history evidence in court, is one such example. Drawing from interviews conducted with high-level criminal justice professionals, legal stakeholders and victim support workers, and an analysis of primary source documents, including legislation and reports, this paper argues that although s 34 has marked a unique response to protecting the sexual history evidence of victims in criminal trials, its various shortcomings may hinder its capacity to improve sexual assault victims’ procedural justice experiences in ways anticipated from its introduction.

Dr Mary Iliadis is a Lecturer in Criminology at Deakin University. Mary’s research adopts a socio-legal framework to examine, critique and impact legal policy concerning victims’ rights, with a particular focus on the rights afforded to victims of sexual violence. Mary’s research is international in its scope and explores the rights and protections afforded to victims across England and Wales, Ireland and Australia. More broadly, Mary researches prosecutorial discretion and access to justice issues. Mary’s research has gained traction in government circles and her findings were cited in the VLRC’s (2016) report on The Role of Victims of Crime in the Criminal Trial, demonstrating a high-level of impact.


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