‘I’m not at all protected and i think other women should know that, that they’re not protected either’: Victim–survivors’ experiences of ‘misidentification’ in Victoria’s family violence system

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The misidentification of women as predominant aggressors has emerged as a topical issue in family violence research, with feminist scholarship suggesting that such trends may be attributed to a range of factors, including incident-based policing and a misunderstanding of the ways in which women use violence against their partners. Where existing research has primarily focused on policing practices in relation to misidentification, this article explores the impacts of misidentification on the lives of women victim–survivors of family violence in Victoria (Australia), a jurisdiction that has recently seen significant reforms to family violence systems in the wake of the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence (2016). Using data from interviews with 32 system stakeholders and survey responses from 11 women who have experienced misidentification in Victoria, this study explores misidentification within the family violence intervention order system. It demonstrates that being misidentified as a predominant aggressor on a family violence intervention order can have a significant impact on women’s lives and their access to safety, highlighting the need for improved policing and court responses to the issue beyond existing reforms.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Court system
  • Family and domestic violence
  • Gender
  • Misidentification
  • Policing

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