Safe and Equal’s response to Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor’s report into accurate identification of predominant aggressors

Thursday 18 November 2021

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Safe and Equal welcomes the Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor’s report into accurate identification of predominant aggressors released this week.

The report unpacks the all too frequent issue of a victim survivor being labelled as the perpetrator in a family violence setting and the unjust and detrimental consequences. 

The stories of victim survivors in the report raises the alarm of the impact of misidentification, including retraumatisation, lack of access to vital support services and serious and ongoing violence misidentified victim survivors experience.  

The report serves as an urgent call to action to address misidentification. Safe and Equal strongly supports the call for a whole-of-system response and the whole-of-government effort outlined in the report. 

The areas in need of immediate attention highlighted in the report include: 

  • the need for a greater understanding of the dynamics of family violence and coercive control,  
  • clearer guidance and more joined-up processes for dealing with misidentification, and  
  • better system monitoring 

Reflected in the report is the on the ground experience of specialist family violence support workers, which provides compelling evidence about the prevalence of misidentification and the lack of clear systemic processes for correcting misidentification when it occurs.  

It’s in solidarity with victim survivors and specialist family violence services that we strongly support the proposed actions and can unequivocally confirm that the issues and recommendations align with feedback received from Safe and Equal members for addressing misidentification. The overarching, system-wide actions proposed to address misidentification and the specific actions for Victoria Police, courts and legal services, child protection and areas where existing efforts could be strengthened, provide practical mechanisms for reducing and responding to misidentification. 

As the report notes, addressing this critical issue will require partnership across all parts of the family violence response system, with sectors working collaboratively together to develop workable solutions. On behalf of the specialist family violence service sector, we look forward to working collaboratively with system partners to ensure systems that have been set up to protect victim survivors and keep them safe do not continue to unintentionally result in further harm. 

Page last updated Thursday, November 18 2021


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