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The Role of Technology in Improving Access to Justice for Victims of Family Violence: Challenges and Opportunities

Abstract

In Australia, domestic and family violence (DFV) is a major health and human rights issue. Technology is increasingly being recognised as an important tool to assist victims/survivors of DFV in accessing legal services, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Technology has been rapidly rolled out to assist victims/survivors obtain legal advice and protection orders, and to participate in judicial processes. This article focuses on the experiences of lawyers in Victoria who have been using technology as part of their work to support victims/survivors of DFV. Interviews with the lawyers reveal that while technology plays a crucial role in enhancing access to justice for victims of DFV, it can also present risks, particularly in view of perpetrators’ increasing use of technology to facilitate violence. Technology may also replicate the barriers already faced by many victims when seeking justice. These issues arise because, often, technology is not designed based on the needs of the victims/survivors. This article argues that to ensure the safety and security of DFV victims/survivors and to facilitate their access to justice, the development and design of technology must be victim-centric and trauma-informed.

Published: 2022-10-04
Issue:Online First
Section: Articles
How to Cite
Domingo-Cabarrubias, Leavides, Delanie Woodlock, Christopher Alexander, Mai Sato, Genevieve Grant, and Jacqueline Weinberg. 2022. “The Role of Technology in Improving Access to Justice for Victims of Family Violence: Challenges and Opportunities”. Law, Technology and Humans, October. https://doi.org/10.5204/lthj.2469.

Author Biographies

Monash University
Australia Australia

Leavides Domingo-Cabarrubias is a Fellow of Eleos Justice at the Faculty of Law, Monash University. 

Monash University
Australia Australia

Delanie Woodlock has been working in domestic violence and sexual assault for over 15 years, providing support to victim-survivors, as well as conducting internationally recognised research in both the community and academia. She is a Research Fellow at Monash University in the Australian Centre for Justice Innovation. Her research has focused on violence against women with disabilities, the impact of abuse on women’s trauma, the use of technology in domestic violence, child sexual abuse material and violence against women in rural and regional Australia.

Monash University
Australia Australia

Christopher Alexander is Research Assistant of Eleos Justice at the Faculty of Law, Monash University. 

Monash University
Australia Australia

Mai Sato is an Associate Professor and Director of Eleos Justice at the Faculty of Law, Monash University

Monash University
Australia Australia

Genevieve Grant is an Associate Professor and Director, Australian Centre for Justice Innovation at Faculty of Law, Monash University.

Monash University
Australia Australia

Jacqueline Weinberg is the Director of Clinical Units and Academic Director of South East Monash Legal Service in the Monash Clinical Program, Faculty of Law, Monash University. 

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2652-4074