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Women's Studies International Forum 31 (2008) 65 – 72

“Why doesn't she just leave?”: Belonging, disruption and domestic violence Suellen Murray Centre for Applied Social Research, School of Global Studies, Social Science & Planning, RMIT University, GPO Box 2476V, Melbourne VIC 3001, Australia Available online 21 December 2007

Synopsis From the 1970s, a feminist response to domestic violence in Australia was to assist women to leave their homes to escape domestic violence. In doing so, women's (and their children's) lives and their belongingness to place and to family were disrupted. Indeed, discourses about domestic violence assumed that women's lives would be disrupted. More recently, in Australia, legal and other reforms have allowed for the greater possibility of a woman remaining safely in her own home (and her violent partner being removed) and retaining some sense, at least, of her belonging to place. However, further significant policy and attitudinal change is required. In this article, I explore the gap between the experiences of women and the policies and legislation that have been in place to provide assistance and protection, and how this has changed over the past three decades. In particular, I examine what it means to leave home or to at stay home in relation to domestic violence and I consider what they mean in terms of belonging to family and to place. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Introduction In the 1970s, a feminist response to domestic violence in Australia was to assist women to leave their homes to escape domestic violence. In doing so, women's (and their children's) lives and their belongingness to place and family were disrupted. Indeed, discourses about domestic violence, and the subsequent responses to it, assumed that women's lives would be disrupted. These responses were developed at a time when there was little support to keep women safe at home and, while leaving home and going to a refuge was, for some, ‘a last resort’, for others, it became a place where a new sense of belonging was invoked. For other women, the sense of belonging, particularly to family and place, was a barrier that stopped them from ever leaving, despite the violence. More recently, legal and other reforms have attempted to allow for the greater possibility of a woman remaining safely in 0277-5395/$ - see front matter © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2007.11.008

their own homes (and her violent partner being removed) and retaining some sense of belongingness. However, the diversity of women's interests is also acknowledged, that is, for some women, leaving their home, despite the disruption, is what they want (or need) to do. In this article I explore these changes about leaving home/staying home in relation to domestic violence over the last three decades in Australia. I examine the gap between the experiences of women and the policies and legislation that have been in place to provide assistance and protection. While legislation has been in place for some time to enable women to stay at home (and to remove violent men), until recently, much public policy has been framed in terms of women leaving their home. In particular, I consider the disruption to belonging to family, community and place that leaving home entails and the ways in which recent changes attempt to minimise these disruptions.


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This research forms part of a larger Australian Research Council-funded study which explores the history of Australian domestic violence public policy and which draws upon document analysis as well as indepth interviews. The article will contribute to a growing literature on Australian responses to domestic violence. While there is a substantial literature on Australian public policy responses to domestic violence including reviews and evaluations funded through the Australian Government's Partnerships Against Domestic Violence (e.g., Bagshaw, Chung, Couch, Lilburn, & Wadham, 2000; Strategic Partners, 2003), analysis of contemporary domestic violence policy (e.g., Chappell, 2001; FitzRoy, 1999; Murray, 2005; Phillips, 2006) and there is some documentation of how domestic violence became a policy issue (e.g., Murray, 2002; Weeks & Gilmore, 1996), there has been considerably less concerning the development of domestic violence policy over time. Moreover, much of the published debate specifically about staying in the home in the Australian domestic violence public policy context has occurred in government and other social policy reports. In particular, then, this article brings a historical perspective to understanding leaving home/staying for women and children who experience domestic violence. ‘Why doesn't she just leave?’ ‘Why doesn't she just leave?’ is a question still commonly asked about women who are experiencing domestic violence. The question minimises the reasons why women might find it difficult to leave their home, their partner and, sometimes, their family and community. However, recent research suggests that even though there is improved confidence in police and court responses and that more women are reporting domestic violence (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006), in the wider community, ‘understanding of barriers to action remain poor’. In a community survey conducted by the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, 81% of respondents agreed that ‘it's hard to understand why women stay in violent relationships’ and 50% stated that ‘most women could leave a violent relationship if they really wanted to’ (Vichealth, 2006, pp. 63–64). At the same time, and in a somewhat contradictory manner, 91% of respondents agreed that the violent person should be made to leave the family home (Vichealth, 2006, p. 63). This suggests that the question, ‘why doesn't he leave?’ should be being asked instead, a question I will return to later in this article. First of all, I will briefly consider what it is when we talk about

domestic violence, or family violence, as it is also known in Australia. I will then address the question, ‘why is it expected that a woman would leave her home in the first place?’ before turning to ‘why doesn't she just leave?’ How domestic violence has been understood has changed over the last three decades. The Australian Government's Royal Commission on Human Relationships, researched during the mid 1970s, included an examination of what was called ‘family violence’. The Commission defined family violence as ‘acts of violence by one spouse against the other spouse or against the children’ and was concerned primarily with physical violence including rape (Royal Commission on Human Relationships, 1977, p. 133). More recently, definitions of domestic violence (and family violence) place as much emphasis on other forms of violence including threats and intimidation, and emotional and financial abuse, because of the ways in which these behaviours control and restrict victims' lives (e.g., Office of Women's Policy, 2002). In Australia, family violence is now inclusive of violence perpetrated by a range of family or community members, not just male partners, to capture, in particular, the experiences of Indigenous women and children (MacDonald, 1998). The term domestic violence continues to be understood as violence between intimate partners with both family and domestic violence recognising the gendered nature of the violence. There is also increasing concern about the impact of domestic and family violence on children and understandings about the frequent co-existence of domestic violence and child abuse (Laing, 2000). The expectation that a woman would leave her home was based on firmly held beliefs about men's entitlement to their home and that ‘a man's home is his castle’. There is a long history of a man's rights over his wife in terms of ownership of property, income and children (McFerran, 2003, pp. 39–40). These views, that women were less entitled to the family home, were also at least partly based in women's experiences of typically contributing less financially, regardless of their other contributions made to the household. Furthermore, the need to prioritise safety meant that, because men were deemed to be entitled to remain in the family home, women and children had to leave to be safe. As social work academics Chung, Kennedy, O'Brien and Wendt (2000, p. 2) have noted, women have been constructed as ‘victims who need protection and seclusion rather than as citizens with rights which can and should be asserted and enforced.’ Instead of domestic violence being treated as a serious crime, women were left unsafe in their homes, or they left.

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The response of police to domestic violence is a key to understanding why women left home. While the police play a significant role in domestic violence, historically, there has been reluctance by many officers to criminalise men's assaults on their wives (Alexander, 2002; Victorian Law Reform Commission, 2005). The lack of importance attributed to domestic violence was evident in the ways that some police officers failed to support those who were the victims of what, in any other circumstances, would have been considered serious crimes. The response of the refuge movement to this lack of action by police was to provide safe, supported accommodation in women's refuges. Refuge worker Glenda Blake recounted the injustices she witnessed during the 1980s: going with the police to women's houses and having the police just stand back and offer no assistance at all. In fact, sometimes [the police would] take the perpetrator aside and have a chat to him as though he was one of their best mates. And during this display of Australian mateship, the refuge worker would be assisting the woman to move some basic items out of the house — in effect, ‘moving their whole lives' into ‘sub-standard, cold and isolated’ housing (Murray, 2002, p. 119). So why, then, did women not ‘just leave’? The quote above provides some clues, that women were moving to ‘sub-standard, cold and isolated housing’, leaving behind, for some, at least, the relative comforts of their own home. But the physical circumstances of women's lives after leaving is only one aspect of why leaving could be difficult and one that I shall discuss further in the next section of this article. Other reasons why women might find it difficult to leave include their financial dependence on their partner, their lack of knowledge of or access to appropriate support services to assist them or their fear of what their partner may do to them if they did leave (Alexander, 2002; Keys Young, 1998; Patton, 2003). I will not discuss these reasons here but, instead, turn to the disruptions to belonging that women encountered. During the mid to late decades of the twentieth century, Australian social policy and wider community attitudes framed domestic violence as ‘marital conflict’ with the aim of restoring family harmony. According to gendered norms, women, rather than men, were responsible for the maintenance of family harmony and marital conflict (or domestic violence) was an indication of their failure to perform their expected roles as wives. Women continue to experience social pressure to ‘make the marriage work’ and to remain in their relationship,


despite the violence, as revealed in several recent studies. While some women interviewed in a 2003 Tasmanian study received supportive responses when they disclosed domestic violence to friends and families, others were told ‘You have made your bed, now lie in it’ (Patton, 2003, p. 84). A 2004 Victorian study revealed women's experiences of being told to ‘keep the family together at all costs’ (Chisholm Institute and Women's Health in the South East, 2004, p. 20). For those who do ‘just leave’, leaving symbolises the failure of their relationship, even when this was not what they wanted. Some women just want the violence to stop and not the relationship to end (Patton, 2003). Despite the violence, some women care about their partner and cherish the lives that they have shared together. Not surprisingly, then, for some women, leaving is not a final act but, due to the difficulties that leaving entails, involves returning and leaving on a number of occasions. Approximately 30% of women return home after accessing domestic violence crisis accommodation services; almost 60% in remote areas (Chung et al., 2000, p. 32). Domestic violence also disrupts relationships to wider family and community, felt by all women to some extent, and most particularly by Indigenous women and women from culturally diverse communities for whom leaving their partner may mean leaving their community, and possible ostracism or alienation from others in that community (Lay, 2006). An Aboriginal woman leaving her home and community may feel like she ‘is not only losing her family, but she is walking away from her whole culture’ (Keys Young, 1998, p. 73). There may also be pressure to ‘put up with’ the violence so as not to shame the family or the community. Thus, according to criminologist Harry Blagg (2000, p. 9), ‘Aboriginal women are caught between a range of pressures to remain silent on family violence issues in the interests of community and family.’ In contrast to feminist models which have tended to emphasise women ‘breaking free,’ Indigenous responses to family violence have focused much more on ‘healing approaches’ with the aim to preserve families (Strategic Partners, 2003, p. 45). In consultations undertaken with Indigenous women and family violence organisations in Western Australia, Blagg (2000, p. 24) found that women wanted refuges or safe houses that they could go to for respite from the violence, without pressure on them to leave the relationship. For some women, leaving was not an option, ‘for the sake of the children’, believing that the sense of belonging for the children, and their children's relationship with their father, were more important than the violence in the home (Keys Young, 1998; Patton, 2003).


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However, as suggested previously, children too experience violence in these homes. The point at which women took action, often involving leaving their partner, was when they ‘held grave fears for their physical safety or that of their children, or where they began to have significant concerns about the impact of the abuse upon their children or other family members’ (Keys Young, 1998, p. xi). But there have always been risks for some women in taking action: women are expected to protect their children from violence, including from her violent partner. However, women express concerns about reporting domestic violence because of the risk that she may be identified as a ‘bad’ mother unable to care for her children and have them taken away. Her partner escapes attention as the source of the violence and the other person who has responsibility for the care and safety of the children (Davies & Krane, 2006; Health Outcomes International, 2004). Domestic violence does not only disrupt intimate and other family relationships. Pets may have a large significance in women and children's lives, including as important sources of emotional support. Domestic violence can be perpetrated through the abuse of pets, as revealed by Heather Osland, an Australian woman who was convicted of the murder of her husband after many years of his extreme violence towards her and her children (Osland, 2003). In one United States study of a population of women who had pets and had sought assistance at a refuge, threats to harm or actual harm had occurred against half of these pets by violent partners (Flynn, 2000; see also Becker & French, 2004). Women may not want to leave home as they cannot take their pets with them and they fear for their safety otherwise (Victorian Law Reform Commission, 2006). In addition to leaving personal relationships, women may struggle to leave the place that is their home. The family home is not just a place of physical shelter, but it is also supposed to provide emotional security; it has symbolic importance for the relationship and the family life that a woman and her children have lived. Domestic violence disrupts this belongingness to place by altering understandings of the space that is home, as Jenni Southwell (2002, p. 4) has noted: family violence disrupts and violates the sense of safety and belonging that are culturally associated with the home and to this extent robs its victim of such a space. This sense of loss is invoked by Anna Spencer as she recalls her feelings when she first came to a refuge: I had this image of me walking up the path to the main door. I had a two-year old on one side and an

overbrimming suitcase on the other. I remember tripping over and my knee bleeding and having an awful sense of desolation (Murray, 2002, p. 51). However, some women who remain at home may feel no sense of belonging there. As Carolyn Johnson (2005) has noted, the most dangerous time for a woman is when she is about to or after she leaves a violent relationship. The fear of these dangers may mean that she never leaves home but has no sense of belonging there (Patton, 2003). Moreover, for those women whose relationships involve high levels of control of their contact with family and friends and other social networks, over time, they may also lose a sense of connectedness to their wider community. Having discussed ‘just leaving’, I will turn, in this next section, to a consideration of what happened for women and children when they did leave home. For some, the disruption lead to ongoing disadvantage; for others, leaving was empowering and they tell stories of the better lives that resulted for them and their children. Leaving home, leaving violence While most women who experience domestic violence do not seek assistance from official sources (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006), some leave home to go to a refuge. Others stay with friends, family members or have their own resources to support themselves. Many of these women become ‘homeless’, at least in the short-term, even though they have a home which they have had to leave. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2005, p. 1), homelessness is understood as a lack of ‘safe, secure and adequate housing’ rather than the more common perception of ‘living rough’. As social worker Robyn Gregory (2001, p. 13) has noted: Women, often with children, were/are far more likely to be living in intolerable domestic situations, dependent on a partner for shelter, than directly subjected to the “dangers” of the streets. However, for women who do leave, the uncertain future of poverty, inadequate housing and social isolation is not much more inviting. The Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) is the major government response to homelessness in Australia and, in 2003–2004, a third of clients accessing these services were women escaping domestic violence. Across Australia, this means that around 33,000 women and 35,000 accompanying children seek assistance from refuges and outreach services

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annually (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2005, p. 1). When refuges are full, women and children stay in motel units, paid for by SAAP, but typically with limited support. Almost a quarter of these women escaping domestic violence in 2003–2004 were Indigenous Australians and 15% were born in countries that were predominantly non-English speaking (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2005, p. 2). Leaving home usually entails significant disadvantage, including the loss of belongingness to place, partner and family described previously. Leaving home can also lead to unstable housing and homelessness, the risk of poverty and displacement from social networks. When women and children leave home they leave behind connections to local communities and local friends. Despite the disadvantages typically inherent in leaving home, for some women, leaving home and going to a refuge invoked a new belonging. While refuges were intended to be homely — even though not all women find them so — the shared experiences of the communal refuge model aim to promote self-help and empowerment. As noted by Veronica Wensing (2001, p. 17), ‘the sharing of experiences was, and still is, an important aspect of the environment in the refuge supportive of empowerment’. Living in the shared space of the refuge provided opportunities for women to realise that their experiences were not unique and for some this was empowering, as Maggie Lawson, a resident at a women's refuge in the 1970s, explained: For me personally, it meant that I wasn't the only one in the situation, that there were other people coming from a range of other backgrounds that were coming from the same situation; that there were things that I could do about it, that I could make a life for myself… Yes, there was a life after domestic violence (Murray, 2002, p. 50). Maggie Lawson left the refuge for a flat where her neighbours included other single mothers. She recalled that this group of women ‘all looked after each other’ and have remained friends ever since (Murray, 2002, p. 60). Some women, like Maggie, joined the women's movement and embraced feminism. For Maggie, a new sense of belonging developed. In the next section I will turn to the possibility of women and children remaining safely at home. Staying home, leaving violence As a long time Australian activist and domestic violence service worker, Ludo McFerran (2002a) reminds us, refuges ‘were never perceived as an end in


themselves, only a means’. Is it possible, then, to have in place a service system that supports women and children to stay safely in their own homes rather than allowing the man to remain? Should we be asking instead ‘why doesn't he leave?’ and having in place the environment that enables this to occur and, in doing so, minimises the effects of and prevents domestic violence? By asking these questions I am not suggesting that the violent partner will necessarily be cognisant of their conduct and its impact on his partner and other family members. Nor do I assume that he agrees with the woman's account of his behaviour as unacceptable. Rather, legal reforms and policy changes should allow for the possibility that this could occur and he be made to leave to find accommodation elsewhere. As noted earlier in this article, there is wide community agreement that within relationships where domestic violence is occurring, the violent partner should be made to leave the family home. The possibility of ‘staying home, leaving violence’ has existed in at least some states of Australia for some time. However, even though the ability to remove violent men from their homes has been in place since the introduction of domestic violence intervention orders in the 1980s (at least in some states of Australia including New South Wales and Victoria), police and courts, according to McFerran (2002b), have ‘shown deep reluctance over the years to remove a man from his home’. Furthermore, according to Southwell (2002, p. 26), ‘when faced with a contest between the citizenship rights of men and those of women, the Court is inclined to privilege those of men, despite the construction of legislation to enable the contrary.’ Clearly, then, in this instance, legislation is important but, as Carol Smart (1989) has reminded us, how the law is used is not necessarily in women's interests and more than legislation is needed. Domestic violence intervention orders, violence restraining orders or apprehended violence orders, as they are known variously across Australia, are used as a civil law means of managing violence and the threat of violence, in addition to the less well-used criminal law processes of arrest and prosecution (Alexander, 2002; Victorian Law Reform Commission, 2005). Intervention orders restrict defendants' activities, such as by limiting their access to certain places and people and, in doing so, increasing women's safety. A defendant, for example, may not be allowed to go within a certain distance of the workplace or residence of an ‘aggrieved family member’ (as they are called in Victoria). A breach of an intervention order is a criminal offence, but police have been notoriously reluctant to act on breaches, putting women


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and children who are supposed to be protected by them, at great risk (Victorian Law Reform Commission, 2006). Intervention orders can include a condition that excludes defendants from the family home, even when they own or partly own the home. These orders are variously known as exclusion orders, ouster orders and sole occupancy orders. Exclusion orders do not affect who owns or has equity in the property and are supposed to be unrelated to the deliberations of the Family Court regarding property settlements. They are intended to be primarily concerned with the safety of women and children, not property matters, although research suggests otherwise, discussed further below. In recent times police have gained further powers to assist in the possibility of women remaining in their homes. Holding powers, for example, have the capacity to assist women to remain in their own home while the process of applying for an intervention order is undertaken rather than leaving home to do so. From 2006, in Victoria ‘holding powers’ enable police to detain a person suspected of domestic violence for up to 6 hours during which time an intervention order with an exclusion condition could be put in place. The introduction of the Victoria Police Code of Practice in 2004, with its main aims of safety and support for victims, early intervention and investigation and prosecution of criminal offences, has also been an important step in clarifying the police's role in responding to domestic violence (Victoria Police, 2004). There has been, then, change in some states of Australia, at least, that attempts to allow for the greater possibility of women and children remaining in their home. However, while women may then apply to exclude their violent partner from their home, as Robyn Edwards has noted, ‘the court's response to requests for exclusion orders often focuses on the property rights and accommodation needs of defendants’ (Edwards, 2003, p. 2). In other words, the belongings and belongingness of alleged violent partners are more important than the safety and accommodation of women and children, and this view has been retained over time. In Victoria, research undertaken in the 1990s by sociologist, Rosemary Wearing (1992 cited in Southwell, 2002), revealed the extreme reluctance that magistrates expressed about making exclusion orders. Over half of the forty magistrates that she interviewed claimed that they ‘would never’ exclude the perpetrator from the home as they believed it was a denial of his property rights. Furthermore, “several Magistrates remarked that they felt there was a problem with evicting the male offender as he

would not know how to manage or survive without his family's (usually meaning wife's) nurturance [sic] and support activities” (Wearing, 1992 cited in Southwell, 2002, p. 24). Edwards' analysis of transcripts from South East Sydney courts a decade after Wearing's study is also telling. Her study revealed that magistrates paid particular attention to the accommodation needs of the male defendant: if the magistrate was not satisfied that he had somewhere to live, they were reluctant to grant an exclusion order. None of the transcripts revealed any interest by magistrates in the female partner's housing (nor that of their children). No prosecutor argued that the woman had no other housing options than the family home (Edwards, 2003). In other words, it was assumed that they would leave if suitable arrangements were not made for the violent male partner. Similar outcomes have been found in other research (e.g., Nunn, 2001; see also McFerran, 2003). During 2001, a Victorian domestic violence specialist outreach service supported 30 women who had exclusion orders in place to remain in their own homes. These women reported that ‘this option has enabled them to remain close to their support networks and reduced the disruption to their lives caused by domestic violence’ (Eastern Domestic Violence Outreach Service, 2004 cited in Weeks & Oberin, 2004, p. 52). By 2003 the number of women supported had doubled and service workers were optimistic about the prospects for the use of exclusion orders. They argued that their use involves police, courts, domestic violence workers, solicitors and the general community giving ‘a unified message that tells [women] of their entitlement to the home’. However, they acknowledged that women continued to receive conflicting messages. For example, a solicitor advised that the abuse women have suffered is not significant enough for a magistrate to make an order even when they have ‘suffered violent assault leading to visible injuries’ (Eastern Domestic Violence Outreach Service, 2004). Furthermore, as Chung (2002, p. 11) has noted, for women to stay in the home safely, ‘a massive shift in public commitment [is required] which can enable police, courts and other agencies to act on such an option where it is the woman's choice’. It may be this commitment across agencies, rather than legal responses alone, that will provide the circumstances in which change can occur. But as argued by McFerran (2003, 2007), the wider policy framework is only just developing and its development will require dealing with this resistance to enabling women and children to

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remain safe in their own home. In Victoria, for example, the groundwork for this policy framework is being established through reforms to the family violence service system, underpinned by an integrated model and which, in part, have a focus on supporting women to remain in their own home (Department for Victorian Communities, 2005; Office of Women's Policy, 2002). Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory are other Australian jurisdictions that have put in place policy frameworks intended to facilitate women and children remaining in their own home (McFerran, 2007). Part of this policy framework is providing support to women who remain at home and ensuring their safety. The provision of outreach services, conduct of safety audits and risk assessments, installation of security devices and rapid response alarm systems are all mechanisms that can support women and children staying safely at home (Health Outcomes International, 2004; McFerran, 2007). Some argue, however, that these measures will never ensure the safety of all women and children and that there will continue to be the need for refuges to provide protection to those who are most at risk of violence. Another part of the policy framework is dealing with the accommodation needs of men who have been excluded from their homes. Many in the domestic violence field have argued that women and children's safety must be the priority, rather than the accommodation needs of the defendant. Edwards confirms that there has been exasperation among some workers in the domestic violence sector that too much concern is expressed about where men will live. But there are also shifts in thinking about this. Edwards, for example, argues that the housing of violent men may be one of the best strategies to ensure that women remain in the home (Edwards, 2004). Like women who leave home because of violence, men also stay with other family members and friends or use their own financial resources to fund alternative accommodation. Government-funded initiatives include providing men with financial assistance to support them to leave and paying for men's motel accommodation. In addition, the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program provides accommodation to homeless men. Men who have been excluded from their home can also access these services but it is unclear the extent to which they are being used in this way. Conclusion Despite thirty years of action around domestic violence in Australia the question, “why doesn't she just leave?” is still asked. This question is based in an


assumption that women and children are less entitled than their violent partner and father to stay in their own home and minimises the disruption and disadvantage that leaving entails. It also assumes that this is the only choice that women have, that is, to escape violence, they must leave their own home. While acknowledging that some women do not want to remain in their home and for others it may never be safe to stay, for others again, staying home can be a way of leaving the violence. Increasingly, the question “why doesn't he leave?” is being asked. Indeed, as noted, in a recent Australian community survey over 90% of respondents agreed that the violent partner should be made to leave the family home. However, even though legislation has been in place for some time to allow its possibility, the research discussed here suggests that there has been reluctance to exclude a man from his home, reflecting deeply held views concerning men's entitlement to their home. There is some evidence to suggest that changes are happening but further significant policy and attitudinal change is required to reduce the gap between women's experiences and the provision of support and protection. Ultimately, these changes involve recognition of women and children's entitlement to the space that is their home, and that this is a safe place. In doing so, women and children may then retain a greater sense of belonging despite the other disruptions that domestic violence brings to their lives. References Alexander, Renata (2002). Domestic violence in Australia: The legal response (3rd ed.). Sydney: Federation Press. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2006). 2005 Personal safety survey. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia (Cat. no. 4906.0). Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2005). Female SAAP clients and children escaping domestic and family violence, 2003– 2004. AIHW Bulletin, 30, 1−28. Bagshaw, Dale, Chung, Donna, Couch, Murray, Lilburn, Sandra, & Wadham, Ben (2000). Reshaping responses to domestic violence: Final report. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia. Becker, Fiona, & French, Lesley (2004). Making the links: Child abuse, animal cruelty and domestic violence. Child Abuse Review, 13, 399−414. Blagg, Harry (2000). Crisis intervention in Aboriginal family violence: Summary report. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia. Chappell, Louise (2001). Federalism and social policy: The case of domestic violence. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 60(1), 59−69. Chisholm Institute and Women's Health in the South East (2004). Women's journey away from violence: Framework and summary. Melbourne: Victorian Department of Human Services. Chung, Donna (2002). Questioning domestic violence orthodoxies: Challenging the social construction of women as victims and as being responsible for stopping male violence. Women Against Violence, 11, 7−15.


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Resource Centre, & Council for Homeless Persons (Eds.), Out of the Fire: Domestic Violence and Homelessness (p. 35) Melbourne: Domestic Violence and Incest Resource Centre, New South Wales Women's Refuge Resource Centre & Council for Homeless Persons. Office of Women 's Policy (2002). Women's Safety Strategy: A Policy Framework. Melbourne: State of Victoria. Osland, Heather (2003). Heather's Story. Available online http://home., accessed 15 August 2007. Patton, Shirley (2003). Pathways: How Women Leave Violent Men. Hobart: Government of Tasmania. Phillips, Ruth (2006). Undoing an activist response: Feminism and the Australian Government's domestic violence policy. Critical Social Policy, 26(1), 192−219. Royal Commission on Human Relationships (1977). Final Report, vol. 4. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service. Smart, Carol (1989). Feminism and the Power of Law. London: Routledge. Southwell, Jenni (2002). Family Violence and Homelessness: Removing the Perpetrator from the Home, Discussion paper No. 3. Melbourne: Domestic Violence and Incest Resource Centre. Strategic Partners (2003). Indigenous Family Violence: Phase 1: Meta-evaluation Report. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia. Vichealth (2006). Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Community Attitudes to Violence Against Women, Progress and Challenges in Creating Safe and Healthy Environments for Victorian Women, A Summary of Findings. Melbourne: Vichealth. Victorian Law Reform Commission (2005). Family Violence Holding Powers: Interim Report. Melbourne: Victorian Law Reform Commission. Victorian Law Reform Commission (2006). Review of Family Violence Laws Report. Melbourne: Victorian Law Reform Commission. Victoria Police (2004). Code of Practice for the Investigation of Family Violence. Melbourne: Victoria Police. Wearing, Rosemary (1992). Monitoring the Impact of the Crimes (Family Violence) Act 1987. Melbourne: La Trobe University. Weeks, Wendy, & Gilmore, Kate (1996). How violence against women became an issue on the national policy agenda. In Tony Dalton, Mary Draper, Wendy Weeks, & John Wiseman (Eds.), Making Social Policy in Australia: An Introduction (pp. 141−153). Sydney: Allen & Unwin. Weeks, Wendy, & Oberin, Julie (2004). Women's Refuges, Shelters, Outreach and Support Services in Australia: From Sydney Squat to Complex Services Challenging Domestic and Family Violence. Canberra: Women's Emergency Services Network. Wensing, Veronica (2001). Why we still need women's services in the twenty-first century. In Domestic Violence and Incest Resource Centre, New South Wales Women's Refuge Resource Centre & Council for Homeless Persons (Eds), Out of the Fire: Domestic Violence and Homelessness (p. 17). Melbourne: Domestic Violence and Incest Resource Centre, New South Wales Women's Refuge Resource Centre & Council for Homeless Persons. Suellen Murray PhD is a Senior Research Fellow at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, and has particular research interests around social policy concerned with domestic violence. She has worked in this area in and with government and with nongovernment domestic violence services. She is currently working on an Australian Research Council-funded project examining the last twenty years of Australian domestic violence public policy.

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