Abstract:Internationally, domestic violence policy has shifted towards supporting women to stay at home with the perpetrator of violence excluded. However, the practical realities indicate that this is a complex arena in which the rhetoric of rights for “women and children to stay in their own home” needs to be underpinned by additional support to provide safety and protection for those choosing this option. The current study examines decision making about accommodation options and the role of civil protection orders among 138 women accessing domestic violence support services in Victoria Australia. It shines a light on the intersection between justice responses and the housing needs of women and their children leaving a violent relationship. Our findings reveal that for this sample of women, staying in their own home left them more open to breaches of intervention orders than those who re‐located. In spite of the frequency of breaching, a majority of women believed that they were safer with the protective order in place. We conclude that supporting women to “stay at home” with the perpetrator removed may be a pathway to safety for only a minority of women particularly if support from police and courts is not proactive and reliable.
Researchers: Diemer, K., Humphreys, C. & Healey, L.