31 May 2023

Fitzroy Legal Service is proud to join WEstjustice and La Trobe University in the report launch of latest research on the relationship between language and gendered power dynamics in the legal system.  

The report, When do I get to tell my story, investigates representations of the agency and resistance of women as affected family members in applications of Family Violence and Intervention Orders (FVOIs).  

When Do I Get to Tell My Story - Report front cover.

Through qualitative and quantitative analysis from linguistic and socio-legal scholars of 20 anonymous FVIO applications, the research found that there is no clear, transparent or easily accessible map of the process of applying for FVIO for either affected family members or Magistrates.  

As the report states, the process of analysing the narratives in FVIO applications highlights questions around how these are in fact crafted, and importantly, how they may be altered during the process.  

“For instance, anecdotal evidence suggests that court registrars play a significant role in editing, rewriting and restructuring the narratives,” the report states. “However, registrars are largely invisible in this process since there is no record of their contribution or changes to affected family members’ narratives.” 

Further to this, the research found that affected family members who write their own application not only demonstrate agency and expertise in the narration of their lived experience of family violence, but also devote a greater proportion documenting the harms it’s caused.  

Please read more on the report and co-author video reflections via WEstjustice HERE 

FLS thank all those involved and endorse the seven recommendations that come from this research including a clear and transparent process map for affected family members to access FVIO applications, and ensuring people with lived experience are centrally involved in these efforts.  

It’s vital that we continue to improve women’s experience of family violence processes throughout the legal system and build the research and knowledge base we need to continue doing so.  

Find out more about the FLS Family Law and Family Violence Team and the supports that they provide.  

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