Different types of intimate partner violence - What do Family Law decisions reveal?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Journal of Family Law, 2016, 30 (2), pp. 77 - 111 (34)
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In recent years the Australian family law system has started to refer to, and use, a growing body of sociological research which argues that intimate partner violence (IPV) is not homogenous, rather it is heterogeneous with key differences in terms of the pattern of violence, the presence of control, and the impact and consequences for the victim. Australia is not the only jurisdiction receptive to this work; interest is also seen in the USA and Canada. Since 2011 the Australian Family Law Courts have specifically referred to this work on typologies in the Family Violence: Best Practice Principles. This article explores the use of typologies by some judicial officers and other professionals working in the family law system. It does so through an analysis of 48 parenting decisions. It examines who perpetrated that violence, the nature of the violence alleged, which legal professional categorised the violence, and the parenting orders that were sought and made in the case. Questions are raised about what the use of typologies adds, if anything, to understandings of IPV in parenting decisions. The article raises a number of concerns about the formal recognition of differentiation within the family law arena (particularly at this point in time).
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