Using Law and Leaving Violence
Professor Heather Douglas, TC Beirne school of Law, University of Queensland
*** Due to unforseen circumstances, this Seminar has been rescheduled (original date 4 October). The date has yet to be confirmed, but is likely to be 19 October. Stay tuned for an update as soon as all details have been finalised. ***
Drawing on interviews with women who have engaged with law to leave domestic violence this seminar maps women’s engagement with different aspects of law over time. It identifies differences in engagements linked to intersecting identities. In particular, it considers the different legal processes experienced by migrant women with insecure migration status and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. Mapping women’s engagement shows the length of time women are caught up in legal processes, especially when they are involved in child and property matters. It demonstrates the complexity of their interactions with the law, and, for many women, their deepening enmeshment in legal processes over time. While some women developed innovative approaches to ensuring their safety and that of their children, using the language and tools of law in innovative ways, in many cases women experienced legal processes as an extension of abuse. Building on the literature (eg Smart,1989; Stak, 2007; Goodmark, 2012) that has identified that abusers sometimes use legal processes to extend their control over victims post-separation, this paper considers how abusers’ multiple applications, appeals and other legal actions operate to intensify women’s enmeshment with the abuser and the legal system over time.
Heather Douglas is a Professor of Law, an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and the Australian Academy of Law. She is based at The Law School, University of Queensland. Heather was the lead investigator on the Australian Feminist Judgments Project and the project leader for the National Domestic and Family Violence Bench Book. Heather has published widely on domestic violence and child protection. Her recent work under her future fellowship focuses on women’s experience of legal engagement as part of their response to domestic and family violence.
RSVP at heather-douglas.eventbrite.com.au